More and more people are hopping onto high-protein diets thanks to its weight loss properties and development of lean muscle mass.
But, too much protein can have adverse affects, too. Researchers have found that diets rich in protein could be damaging to the kidneys, especially in people with diabetes or who are obese.
“A high-protein diet induces glomerular hyperfiltration, which, according to our current state of knowledge, may boost a pre-existing low-grade chronic kidney disease, which, by the way, is often prevalent in people with diabetes,” Denis Fouque, one of the researchers and previous chair of the European Renal Nutrition Working Group, said in a statement. “It might even increase the risk of de novo kidney diseases.”
The total amount of protein consumed needs to be monitored too; researchers say the higher the intake, the quicker kidney functions can decline.
The latest findings, published in the journal Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, back up previous studies that dug into high-protein diet effects. Based on this new support, the researchers suggest that people with early-stage chronic kidney disease should opt for low-protein diet to protect their kidneys instead.
People with type 2 diabetes are also at risk of kidney problems from high protein intake.
“By advising people – especially those with a high risk for chronic kidney disease, namely patients with diabetes, obese people, people with a solitary kidney and probably even elderly people – to eat a protein-rich diet, we are ringing the death bell for their kidney health and bringing them a big step closer to needing renal replacement therapy,” Fouque said.
The next steps for the researchers will be to launch information campaigns to educate the public on protein consumption and its effects on kidney health. They’d also like to explore and study the difference between the proteins from animal- or plant-based foods in more detail.
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