There are many different diet regimens that qualify as “high-protein” but the most successful ones are the ones that allow for some carbs and encourage plenty of vegetables. The most popular incarnations currently on offer, Atkins, Zone, South Beach, and the Ketogenic diet, require their votaries to increase the daily recommended amount of protein by as much as 20 to 25%, with some limiting carbs whole significantly.
While no diet is perfect for everyone, if you’re shopping for a provisional method of shedding a few pounds and are an otherwise healthy individual, following any one of the aforementioned plans above shouldn’t pose too much of a risk. However, if you’re obese or even mildly at risk for chronic kidney disease you’d do well to consider other options. Two new studies published in the journal Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, illuminate the risk of uncompromising devotion to high-protein regimens.
“It is prudent to avoid recommending high-protein intake for weight loss in obese or diabetic patients, or those with prior cardiovascular events, or a solitary kidney if kidney health cannot be adequately protected.vIt is essential that people know there is another side to high-protein diets and that incipient kidney disease should always be excluded before one changes one’s eating habits and adopts a high-protein diet,” explained the senior author of an editorial that tailed the first study, Denis Fouque, MD, PhD, of Centre Hospitalier Lyon-Sud, France.
The epidemiological caution was spirited by information gathered from a food frequency questionnaire of 4837 patients between the ages of 60 and 80 with a documented history of myocardial infarction (MI). MI is a fairly common condition, affecting more than 3 million people a year, that refers to a cessation of blood flow in the heart that damages muscles as a result. People who suffer from this condition are twice as likely to suffer from a decline in kidney function compared to the rest of the population.
In the cohort analysis, the average amount of protein consumed was 71 grams a day, two thirds from plants, two thirds from animals. It was determined that the total amount of protein intake a day yields an inverse relationship with the yearly rate of kidney function decline.
“Despite the fact that our patients received state-of-the-art drug treatment, we observed a beneficial effect of a low-protein intake on kidney function,” the authors of the first study noted.
The second study effectively replicated the results of the first with an analysis of 9226 participants featured in the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study published in 2015. More specifically, after segmenting participants into four groups based on protein intake, it was concluded that the prevalence of renal hyperfiltration was considerably higher among those belonging to the highest quartile of protein consumption. Additionally, these individuals were 32% more likely to experience kidney function decline compared to the participants in the lowest protein intake quartile.
“These findings lead us to infer that a higher intake of protein may be an independent risk factor for renal hyperfiltration that can accelerate deterioration of kidney function,” said lead researcher Kalantar-Zadeh.
The results of the last study, even more than the first, posits risk for the general population, even if it does so correlatively as opposed to casually.
In any case, if you’re considering a diet high in protein be sure to accompany the regimen with sufficient amounts of amino acids, organic compounds important to the regulation of hemodynamics and proteolysis and overall kidney integrity.