High-protein diets may be dangerous for people trying to lose weight

High-protein diets are trendy right now, but they may not be healthy. According to a new expert editorial, substituting the majority of carbohydrates with protein is hard on the kidneys, something that's particularly risky among the morbidly obese and individuals who have diabetes. At the core of the matter are people who are unaware they're at higher risk when they start the diet.

A high-protein diet often involves consuming meat, eggs, cheese, and other foods that contain a notable amount of protein, but low levels of carbohydrates. Patients who need to lose a lot of weight, particularly as part of their disease management, may be advised to eat a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet in order to rapidly lose weight.

This diet may be most risky in overweight individuals, however, particularly if they have diabetes, a condition that often includes low-grade chronic kidney disease, according to the researchers behind the new editorial. A high-protein diet may trigger glomerular hyperfiltration, the researchers note, as well as various types of kidney disease.

Professor Denis Fouque, one of the three researchers who penned the warning, explained, "To put it in a nutshell: To recommend a high-protein diet to an overweight diabetes patient may indeed result in loss of weight, but also in a severe loss of kidney function. We want one, but we also get the other."

The elderly, individuals who only have one kidney, obese people, anyone with diabetes, and others are at a particular risk of "ringing the death bell for their kidney health" by eating a high-protein diet, according to Fouque.

The editorial comes alongside a pair of newly published studies that analyze the topic. Of particular concern, in this case, are people who are unaware they have mild kidney disease, therefore putting them at risk by adopting what they may think is a risk-free diet.