Can a Keto diet harm your kidney function and lead to kidney stones?

Low-carb and ketogenic diets have become very popular for weight loss. But the high amounts of fat with proteins and fewer carbohydrates can not only increase the risk of high cholesterol but put pressure on the kidneys.

What is a Keto diet and how does it work?

Keto diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Carbohydrates are not more than 50 gm. When you’re on the Keto diet, you’re eating too few carbs to support your body’s energy needs. As a result, your body turns to burning your stores of body fat to fuel your energy. When your body burns body fat for fuel, it produces ketones, substances made in your liver. Your body enters a metabolic state called “ketosis.” If you follow the Keto diet strictly, your body will reach ketosis in about four days. This helps to reduce weight. The ratio is usually 60 per cent fat, 35 per cent protein, and five per cent carbs.

For which disease conditions do the benefits of the diet outweigh the risks?

It may help people with heart disease, epilepsy, certain brain diseases, acne, weight loss, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, polycystic ovaries besides athletes doing heavy exercise. Diet is planned as per the individual. So, it’s very essential to take the guidance of a nutritionist as regular monitoring is required to maintain a good balance of all parameters.

What are the effects of a Keto diet on the kidney?

A Keto diet is high in fat, protein and low in carbohydrates. People with normal kidney function can only handle excess protein. For kidney-related problems, we need to monitor protein intake as per the raised parameters. Such patients cannot have a high protein, high fat diet as it may overload the kidney and worsen the problem. Those suffering from kidney ailments should stay away from this diet.

When it comes to the Keto diet’s effect on the kidneys, it might elevate creatinine levels. Patients experiencing acute symptoms should follow a nutritionist-planned diet based on biomedical parameters. In addition to creatinine, electrolytes and iron must be monitored.

Does Keto diet lead to stone formation? What are its other effects?

Ketogenic diets are risky for gallstones and liver disease patients since they can raise LDL cholesterol levels and may increase overall chronic disease risk owing to high fat content. Individuals may feel nausea, vomitting, constipation, acidity and bloating, all of which cause discomfort.

Stone formation can be found in some individuals as a Keto diet is high in fat, salt and animal protein. Loading up on meats, especially processed meats, may increase your risk of kidney stones and gout, a severe form of arthritis. A high consumption of animal proteins raises urine acidity besides calcium and uric acid levels. This combination increases the chance of kidney stones, whereas excessive uric acid increases the risk of gout.

Many individuals on a Keto diet suffer constipation since the diet is low in carbohydrates and may cause nutrient deficiency such as low potassium (which coconut water can help tide over) and vitamin deficiency. As a result, the diet should contain avocado, spinach and lower-carb forms of fibre such as chia seeds and flaxseed.

Individuals can also have Keto flu, which causes their breath to smell fruity. According to a research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in February 2014, acetone is a by-product of ketosis and is largely removed through the lungs and breath. Acetone is a type of ketone that has a fruity scent at low concentrations. It’s difficult to estimate how long it will persist because it depends on the individual, but it’s usual for someone to suffer this side effect for a few weeks.

Do the diet’s health benefits extend to higher risk individuals with multiple health conditions and the elderly?

The Keto diet also affects each person differently. While some people can transition easily to dietary changes, others may find that their body takes longer to adjust to the sudden changes. It’s important to get your cholesterol checked regularly. The Keto diet may decrease cholesterol for some people, but it may increase cholesterol for others.