High-protein diets, like the Ducane diet, increase the long-term risk of developing kidney disease and adversely affect markers of renal function. In addition, they contribute to the development of serious pathologies, in particular, kidney stone disease, as they sharply reduce the pH level of urine and urinary citrate, as well as increase calcium in the urine (to compensate for metabolic acidity caused by excess protein).
Employees of the University of Granada in Spain proved this during an experiment on 20 Wistar albino rats. Scientists observed the effects of a high protein diet on blood, kidneys, and morphological parameters.
Rodents were divided into two groups. The first group was fed protein sports nutrition, which was purchased at the store, with a 45% protein content (an analogue of a high-protein diet). The second control group followed a normal protein diet. The experiment lasted 12 weeks.
As a result, it turned out that rats from the first group on average lost 10% of their weight, but their lipid profile did not improve (a set of specific blood tests that allows you to determine deviations in the body’s fat metabolism). At the same time, the pH of urine in rodents decreased by 15%, and urinary citrate was 88% lower.
In animals that consumed high-protein foods, kidney weight increased by 22%, glomerular filtration by 13%, and mesangium (a group of connective tissue structures located between the capillaries of the vascular glomerulus) – by 32%.
The author of the study, Virginia Aparicio, emphasized that people on a high protein diet should be seen by a doctor, as it has serious long-term health effects.
“Compensating the harmful effects of high-protein nutrition is quite simple – consuming large amounts of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of kidney stones. In all likelihood, this is due to the high content of magnesium and potassium, which are compensated by the high acidity of the high-protein diet, ”concluded V. Aparicio.