Kidney Disease & Paleo

Chronically elevated insulin levels appear to have a number of causes (excess fructose, linoleic acid (n-6), sedentism, inflammation, sleep disturbances…) and a shocking number of consequences.

Most common are Type 2 diabetes and obesity, but linkage to hyperinsulinim includes various types of cancer, mental decline, acne and renal (kidney) problems for a short list.

Today we are going to focus on Kidney Disease. Instead of me really going into a lot of geeky medical terminology talk, I’m going to cut to the chase. I could boil this whole thing down to the following:


2-Chronically elevated BLOOD GLUCOSE levels DO cause kidney damage.

3-Dietary fructose REALLY causes kidney damage.

4-Many kidney issues have either ahyperinsulinemic characteristic, an autoimmune characteristic, and or a combination of autoimmunity orhyperinsulinism. A standard, low-carb paleo diet can fix most of these issues.

5-For SERIOUS kidney damage a low-protein,ketogenic diet (Atkins) can be remarkably therapeutic.

6-If you get kidney stones that are from oxalates, reduce your green veggie intake (spinach for example) and have other types of veggies.

7-If you get kidney stones that are from uratesalts, you are likely NOT following a low-carb paleo diet, you likely have insulin resistance and your liver is not processinguric acid.

Protein and kidneys……

In healthy kidneys protein intake has NO EFFECT on kidney health. In sick kidneys, protein can cause problems. Why? Because when the kidneys are not excreting urea bad things happen. Urea itself is not particularly toxic, but other nitrogenous waste products are neurotoxic and can cause death at high enough levels.

The bottom line is that in healthy individuals, increased protein intake causes an increase in the kidneys ability to deal with creatinine and BUN. In individuals with kidney disease they will likely benefit from a decrease in protein intake…but they need to address one of the aforementioned factors if they want to REGAIN kidney function, which we will talk about soon.

Lets use Jason Couch Potato for an example (name has been changed but scenario is real) to help you see a clear picture of what’s going on…

Jason is a 30yr male, 5′ 7″ tall, 242lbs and pretty much a mess. He is sedentary, stressed, has terrible sleep and primarily snacks on twinkies, eats breakfast & Lunch at McDonalds and drinks a supersize “Coke” and similar drinks during the day and at night after dinner drinks a glass or 2 of vodka & cranberry juice to help him relax.

Recently Jason had to get a physical and he had: high blood pressure, elevated: blood glucose, BUN, creatinine. Given that his condition was obviously not good it was recommended that his renal function get checked out. Tests indicated Jason was operating on approximately 10% of normal kidney function.

Jason was pretty shaken up by his condition…peri-diabetic, facing dialysis ( his doctor wanted to start dialysis IMMEDIATELY) and all at the ripe old age of 30. Fortunately for Jason, he ran into a friend who happened to be a nutritionist that could tell him exactly how to eat to restore his kidney function in very short amount of time.

The course of action involved a low protein (10-15% protein) low carb ( less than 10%) high fat (mainly from coconut products), ketogenic diet. Jason’s doctor was horrified, but they petitioned for one month of “tinkering” to see how things went.

Three weeks later Jason’s GFR was 80% of normal instead of the previous 10% and his BUN was within normal ranges. His doctor was interested…but baffled. And now Jason has subsequently titrated up his protein intake with no ill effects on kidney function.

A ketogenic diet can restore your kidneys back to functioning properly. There are many low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet plans from which to choose. (The Atkins diet is just the most famous). They all involve following a higher fat, moderate protein, low carb food plan.

Excerpt by Robb Wolf