Here’s the first thing I hear when I tell my dad how much protein I eat: OMG Shreeji that's bad for your kidneys!! Is he a doctor? Nephrologist? Psychic, perhaps, who are in touch with my kidneys through the other side?
Nope, but somehow my dad knows that eating say, 35% of one’s calories from protein will be bad for the kidneys. He thinks eating too many chicken boobies or drinking protein shakes, and I'll end up on dialysis or lose my kidney.
Ask my dad what protein actually does to kidneys and you get a lot of vagueness. It’s just bad. - BadDad
But is it actually true that protein will harm my kidneys?
Definitions of “high protein” vary in the literature. For bodybuilders and strength trainers, 2.2-4.4g of protein per kilogram of weight per day (1-2g/lb/day) is common.
Here, high protein was defined as 33% of total calories, or about 1.2g/kg/day (0.55g/lb/day). This group consumed about 2.04 g of protein per kg of lean body mass (or 0.92 g/lb lean body mass). While this amount may be higher than conventional food guides would suggest, based on what bodybuilders and strength athletes normally consume, I wouldn’t call this truly a high protein diet.
Weight training in combination with a high protein diet (33% of calories) is more effective for fat loss than just a high protein diet, or weight training with a diet lower in protein (19%). Obese and overweight diabetics on a high protein diet or a control diet for 16 weeks had the same kidney function. Added protein had no negative effects, even in these folks who were at higher risk.
Enjoy your protein shakes, everyone.
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