Whenever I’m asked to talk about the macros in our diets … the question always comes up about protein:
“Isn’t too much protein bad for your kidneys and bones?”
Isn't too much protein bad for your kidney's and bones?
First, let’s look at why people might think this in the first place.
Early on, research showed that an increase in protein intake caused the kidneys to increase their waste output … and so people assumed this meant you were ‘placing more stress on your kidneys’.
Turns out, this isn’t the case and all the properly conducted studies have shown that high protein intake does not have harmful effects on the kidneys in healthy adults. [1, 2]
Again, before having enough research, people thought that diets higher in protein caused you to lose calcium from your bones.
Turns out, it’s the other way around.
High protein intake actually promotes bone growth and reduces bone loss.
And how about this for a health fact … low-protein diets are actually associated with a higher risk of hip fractures! (No thanks!)
So, is a diet high in protein bad for your kidneys and bones?
Not if you’re healthy.
The right amount of protein can help strengthen your bones and prevent bone loss, and isn’t risky for your kidneys. [3, 4, 5, 6]
The other main benefits of making sure you get enough protein are:
- Protein is thermogenic, which means it helps with weight loss
- Protein is also slower to digest, which means you feel fuller for longer after a meal … which means less hunger and less likely to snack
- Protein helps to build lean muscle, which boosts your metabolism and improves insulin sensitivity
How much protein should you have to get in your best shape for life?
Well, that’s exactly what we help you with in the Elegant Eating Solution.
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If you’ve got a pre-existing medical condition, you’ll find you still fit right in. Our program is evidence-based and your doctor will have no problem helping you modify our recommendations based on your specific medical requirements.
In fact, we predict they’ll be glad you’re following a research-based eating approach instead of some weird-fad diet.
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- Devries MC, et al. Changes in Kidney Function Do Not Differ between Healthy Adults Consuming Higher- Compared with Lower- or Normal-Protein Diets: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis . J Nutr. (2018)
- Poortmans JR, Dellalieux O. Do regular high protein diets have potential health risks on kidney function in athletes? . Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. (2000)
- Hunt JR, Johnson LK, Fariba Roughead ZK. Dietary protein and calcium interact to influence calcium retention: a controlled feeding study . Am J Clin Nutr. (2009)
- Shams-White MM, et al. Dietary protein and bone health: a systematic review and meta-analysis from the National Osteoporosis Foundation . Am J Clin Nutr. (2017)
- Calvez J, et al. Protein intake, calcium balance and health consequences . Eur J Clin Nutr. (2012)
- Fenton TR, et al. Meta-analysis of the effect of the acid-ash hypothesis of osteoporosis on calcium balance . J Bone Miner Res. (2009)