3 New Facts About Keto and Kidneys

Keto and Kidneys – Overview

A ketogenic diet focuses on eating high in fat, moderate in protein, and restricted carbohydrates.

Our body produces glucose from the foods we eat, especially if it is rich in Carbohydrates, and amino acid production from the protein kicks in.

If used to provide energy, amino acids can also be converted to heat. Once our body gets energy from fatty foods, it produces ketones as energy and fuel for every organ and inside our body.

The end-products of glucose are carbon dioxide, water, and energy.

In contrast, the end product of ketones, if used as an energy source, is acetones.

Many claims say people who follow the ketogenic diet have beneficial effects such as weight loss and blood glucose levels for Diabetic people. In the long run, acetones can also be harmful to our health.

How Kidneys Process Ketone

Kidneys are the organs for excreting waste products from the body to care for each organ’s internal health environment.

Waste products such as urea, toxins, excess sugar, and vitamins, and in the case of the ketogenic diet, produce high levels of acetone, affecting kidney health.

Ketones can give energy to kidneys in small amounts. Still, in larger volumes, it could also harm the kidney cells or “nephrons,” causing too much burden in excretion from the body.

Any high levels of toxins that the kidney processes for discharge are dangerous, especially long-term.

This article does not encourage the readers to follow a ketogenic diet; and this article is to educate people about its side effects.

Awareness and health advocacy are the basis of other studies conducted for research purposes.

Keto Diet and Kidney Disease

Keto and kidneys

Keto and kidneys

According to Marcelo Campos, MD’s article, “Ketogenic Diet: Is the ultimate low-carb diet good for you?”- “Patients with kidney disease need to be cautious because this diet could worsen their condition.”

  • A Registered Nutritionist always wants to take care of those patients with kidney problems regarding the foods they will eat, and as a reminder, give them a low or protein-restricted diet, especially when they are undergoing kidney dialysis. For kidneys that do not function type 2 commonly, toxins are at a high level.
  • According to the article of Marcelo Campos, MD, entitled “Ketogenic Diet: Is the ultimate low-carb diet good for you?”- Weight loss is the primary reason patients use the ketogenic diet. Previous research shows good evidence of faster weight loss when patients go on a ketogenic or deficient carbohydrate diet compared to participants on a more traditional low-fat or Mediterranean diet. However, that difference in weight loss seems to disappear over time.
  • In the ketogenic diet, the only source of energy is ketones, and the body uses fat as a source of energy. Nutritional Biochemistry explains excess calories from carbohydrates, protein, and fat is converted to excess body fat. In this situation, the body continuously produces energy from ketones and a high level of satiety, or a feeling of fullness from eating high-fat foods, could cause a person not to overeat. Furthermore, since the body Is burning energy from ketones, too much production of acetones could cause a burden on the kidneys in processing it as a waste product and excreting it from the body.
  • According to The Nutrition Source of Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health, people who follow a Ketogenic Diet that produces an excessive ketone body at a dangerously toxic level release too much acid from the blood and is called keto-acidosis. Keto-acidosis causes kidneys to discharge too much acid, including urine, causing some fluid-related weight loss. Ketoacidosis occurs in individuals with type 1 diabetes due to a lack of insulin, a hormone that prevents the overproduction of ketones. However, in a few cases, ketoacidosis has been reported to occur in nondiabetic individuals following a prolonged deficient carbohydrate diet.
  • Kathy McManus, a director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said that the current recommended intake for protein averages 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams for men. Higher than this could pose a risk to the kidneys that metabolize high protein levels because of ketogenic diet overload.

See Also: Keto and kidneys

Should you try the keto diet? Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, Trusted advice for a healthier life, October 2018.


Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss, The Nutrition Source, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.


Ketogenic Diet: Is the ultimate low-carb diet right for you? By Marcelo Campos, MD, Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School Trusted advice for a healthier life, July 27, 2017.