all the buzz about following a healthy diet to keep up with the demands of the
body, we are conscious about what we eat and how much we eat, now more than
ever. It is well known that too much of anything is bad, this holds true even in
the case of a high protein diet. Your dietician might suggest that you try a
high-protein/ low carb diet to efficiently lose weight. These plans are based
on deriving most of the needed calories (30%-50%) from protein.
are so many contrasting articles about high protein diets that often people do
not know what to believe. This article aims to give you a clear picture
regarding the same. The increasingly popular rapid
weight-loss diets are mostly based on a high-protein intake with a restriction
on the amount of carbohydrates. It is alright for a healthy kidney to undergo
such a practice, but people with kidney conditions need to be watchful.
What Happens with High-Protein Intake?
When you ingest protein, the body produces protein waste. In
the case of healthy kidneys, millions of nephrons filter this waste and successfully
remove it from the body through urine. But, when the kidneys are not healthy,
the ability of the kidney to do this function is reduced and protein wastes
build up in the blood. This excess of protein waste causes nausea, weakness,
anorexia and taste changes. Hence it is advisable that people with high risk of
kidney disease or those with one kidney only, avoid the intake of high protein.
So, How Much Protein Is Too Much Protein?
Honestly, it is hard to know exactly how much protein is needed;
it depends on multiple factors. But unless you are eating a very low amount, there
will not be any detrimental health effects. It is recommended that a considerable
amount of a protein form a part of every meal i.e. at least 25g/meal; you can
make use of your hands for a rough guideline on this. However, this varies
from individual to individual depending on size and weight. Protein shakes
could also help achieve the protein target but shakes are not considered
essential and they are viewed more as a performance food. Studies show that intake
of daily protein is beneficial and helps in retaining muscle mass while dieting;
it also improves satiety and optimizes muscle gain. As we age it becomes much more
difficult to build and retain muscle mass; a significant decline in muscle mass
is observed in women post-menopause. Therefore, it is highly important to ensure
sufficient protein intake while optimizing the amount of food consumed.
What About People with Existing Kidney Conditions?
If a person with a severe kidney
condition stops eating protein, then the kidneys could be saved is a common
misconception. Eating protein plays a major role in keeping a person healthy
and there are chances of malnutrition and more illnesses when protein is cut
off. So, the solution is to eat enough protein for maintaining health. The
protein requirement of people suffering from kidney disease varies from person
to person; a person undergoing dialysis has greater protein requirements than a
person who is at a different stage of kidney disease. However protein foods
that are rich in phosphorous are best avoided.
The Bottom Line
In healthy adults, increased protein intake does not strain
the kidneys much. However, it is always advisable to get in touch with a
dietician or nutritionist before starting any dietary regime. With an existing
kidney condition, consulting a doctor is the best way to determine protein