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Eating a high protein diet damage your kidneys: Myth or fact?

It is believed that someone who eats too much protein is at risk of getting a kidney disease. But what if we tell you that it's a myth? Read on to know more.
protein supplements v/s natural sources
Eating a high protein diet damage your kidneys: Myth or fact? Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Vipul Sanadhya Updated: 1 May 2023, 10:36 am IST
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We consume protein in various forms – be it dairy products, meats or eggs. Many lentils and vegetables also contain protein in lower quantities. It is one of the macros of nutrition that everyone consumes in their diet in one form or another. Some people also choose to supplement their diet with additional protein in the form of Whey Protein. But, does it have a negative impact on your kidneys? Let’s find out.

High protein diet does not damage your kidneys

Dietary Protein consumption has no proven effect on the health of your kidneys. Even if you consume a moderate amount of protein, there will be some health guru around who will tell you that you will damage your kidneys, don’t believe it. A lack of basic understanding of the functioning of your body will have no positive impact on your lifestyle or health.

protein and kidney damage
Know if eating a diet rich in protein damages your kidneys. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Protein is an essential part of the human body. It is the building block of your anatomy and is required in making hormones, enzymes, tissues, the growth of nails, growth of hair, the health of bones etc – essentially everything that you’re made up of. The demand for protein in your body is so much that it becomes extremely difficult to overdo it.

Also Read: Eating protein or drinking protein: What’s better?

Too much protein will cause digestive issues before the kidney comes into the picture, so stop worrying about too much protein. Consuming enough protein to cause digestive issues is an extremely high quantity and reaching that number for an individual is extremely improbable.

Protein is beneficial for your health

The normal diet of an Indian person is not just deficient in protein but protein is almost non-existent. We as people do not need to cut protein out of our diet but rather add more sources to assure better bodily function. There is no evidence to prove that protein damages your body. But unsurprisingly there are multiple studies that tell us the opposite, i.e. the positive impact of protein.

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protein intake
Know the benefits of eating protein. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

There is a study which was published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in March 2000 which had participants who were body-builders and other well-trained athletes with high protein intake, They went into a 7-day nutrition record analysis as well as gave blood and urine for analysis. The study found that protein intake does not impact kidney function.

Also Read: 7 protein-rich foods to include in your diet

Not protein, but these things can damage your kidneys

Now if it’s not protein that is damaging the kidneys which we thought it was, what is causing it? Well, there is nothing that does more damage than oxidative stress caused by elevated levels of insulin and blood glucose in the kidneys as well as the damage to the capillaries because of high blood glucose levels. What triggers insulin and blood glucose levels is the sugar and refined carbohydrates in the diet.

So if you’re so worried about kidney damage, you might want to consider reducing sugars and refined carbohydrates that have no function in your body rather than targeting protein which is the building block of the human body.

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About the Author

Vipul Sanadhya is a certified sports nutritionist. He is also a certified personal trainer from the K11 school of fitness and holds a diploma in personal training for the special population (people with injuries, pregnant women) too. For the last 5 years, Vipul has been working as a nutrition consultant and a personal physical trainer/consultant. ...Read More

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