Even if you’ve accepted that everything we thought we knew about saturated fat and cholesterol in our diets was almost completely wrong, and you’ve been following a low-carb or ketogenic diet confidently for fat loss, migraines, GERD/acid reflux, reversing type 2 diabetes, reducing insulin needs and evening out blood sugar for type 1 diabetes, or for some other health issue, maybe there’s still some lingering fear in the back of your mind that the protein you’re eating—especially animal protein—is bad for your kidneys.
We’ve heard this over and over from just about everyone with an agenda to discredit the efficacy of low carb diets. Now, mind you, low carb diets are not, by definition, high in protein, but in walking away from sugars, grains, beans, and starchy vegetables, many of us find that, compared to our former high-carb life, our protein consumption does increase, whether in absolute grams, as a percentage of total calories, or both. Not to mention the growing carnivore movement, where people are eating only animal foods. For these folks, protein consumption almost certainly increases compared to a standard Western diet, and likely even compared to if/when they were following a ketogenic diet.
So with all this in mind, it’s important that we set the record straight about the influence of dietary protein on kidney function.