Does Dr. Atkins Diet Cause Kidney Stones and Osteoporosis?
As more overweight Americans are turning to low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets to lose weight quickly, some researchers are concerned that these low carb diets increase the risk of kidney stones and may increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Atkins Diet - Small Study Finds Potential Health Risks
A small six-week study followed ten healthy adults who consumed their usual diet for two weeks, followed by the low-carb, high-protein diet for two weeks, and then a diet that only moderately restricted carbohydrates for four weeks. It has been given an inordinate amount of press in an effort to attack those following the Atkins program.
Volunteers lost nine pounds on average, but most developed ketones, which raise the acid levels in the blood - some volunteers acid levels rose by as much as 90%. Volunteers also showed higher levels of calcium in their urine.
The researchers were also concerned about the fact that high acid levels can weaken the kidneys and lead to kidney stones. And animal protein, popular in low-carb high-protein diets, has been shown to boost urinary excretion of oxalate, a compound that combines with calcium and other compounds to form kidney stones.
What's more, the high levels of calcium in their urine suggest a decreased absorption of the bone-building material - and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Source: American Journal of Kidney Diseases 40:265-274
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