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Atkins-Type Diet Programs

An Atkins-type diet is a high-protein nutrition regimen. In the past, there were concerns regarding its damaging effects on the kidneys. But in a new study, researchers found no noticeable harm in healthy patients’ kidneys.

“There has been concern for decades about possible damaging effects of high-protein diets on the kidney,” Dr. Allon Friedman said.

Dr. Friedman, an associate professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, explained that the excess protein intake when one engages in an Atkins-type diet “can rev up the filtering mechanism in the kidney, causing damage over time.”

To confirm if those concerns were true, Dr. Friedman and his team matched up the effects of a low-carbohydrate, high-protein nutrition regimen on a person’s renal function with that of a standard low-fat but calorie-restricted diet.

For two years, the researchers monitored about 300 individuals; half of them followed a low-fat diet plan while the other half had a high-protein regimen. None of the participants had kidney disease.

For this study, the researchers used “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution” as guidelines for the high-protein regimen. This diet plan restricts carbohydrate intake while allowing unlimited fat and protein. The low-fat participants, on the other hand, were asked to consume about 1,200 to 1,800 calories per day. Of that amount, 55 percent of the calories were attributed to carbohydrates, 30 percent coming from fat and 15 percent from protein.

“For otherwise healthy obese people, we did not find that a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet was dangerous to kidney heath or put people at increased risk for that two-year period,” Dr. Friedman said.

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