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Fitness & Health

23rd Jul 2019

No, a high protein diet is not ‘bad for your kidneys’

Don't believe what you hear in the locker room. A review of 28 major studies found that high protein diets do not damage the function of your kidneys

Alex Roberts

Diet myths spread like wildfire in the fitness world

Locker room chat can prove pretty detrimental to your health if it’s not backed up by credible research. In the case of your kidneys, that is definitely true.

For a while, it was believed that a high protein diet was bad for your kidneys. But this has never been proven.

Why do some believe protein is bad for your kidneys?

Your kidneys help your body get rid of certain metabolites from protein. This is why some people assume that excess amounts could be bad for you.

However, research suggests this isn’t the case – so long as you don’t have previous health problems.

Why a high protein diet isn’t bad for your kidneys

A review published in the Journal of Nutrition looked at 28 studies, all concerning protein intake and kidney function.

Scientists concluded: “our analysis indicates that high protein intakes do not adversely influence kidney function in healthy adults.”

If, in response to a high protein diet, you experienced a decline in how efficient your kidneys were working, lifting weights could help. After speaking to your doctor, obviously.

One study found that resistance training could potentially fend off a decline in kidney function.

Who should avoid a high protein diet?

People with existing kidney problems may need to watch their intake, but for everyone else, there shouldn’t be anything holding you back from tucking into that chicken.

Experts writing at say you may need to hold back on protein intake after consulting your doctor, if you’ve had prior issues with your kidneys.

“Restricted protein diets are recommended for those with kidney damage, as it slows the seemingly inevitable progression of kidney damage.

“If protein was not controlled for in those with renal damage, it would accelerate (or at least not reduce) the decline in function.”

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