Wrong Ways to Lose Weight

Obese and overweight Americans risk kidney damage from certain weight loss methods

(RxWiki News) As the number of overweight or obese Americans rises, it is good to hear that many are trying to lose weight. Some of their weight-loss methods, however, could be hurting their kidneys.

Many overweight adults are using weight-loss methods, such as diets and diet pills, that may lead to kidney damage.

This finding is cause for concern, as about 20 percent overweight Americans already have kidney disease.

"Ask your doctor about safe ways to lose weight."

"People who are overweight or obese are at higher risk for chronic kidney disease and there is a great need to define what the appropriate lifestyle changes and weight loss modalities are for protecting kidney function," says Sankar Navaneethan, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic and the study's lead author.

Being obese or overweight raises your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, two conditions that increase your chances of developing chronic kidney disease. As such, it is important to find ways in which obese and overweight people can safely shed pounds.

In a survey of nearly 11,000 overweight adults, Dr. Navaneethan and colleagues found that half of these people tried to lose weight within the past year. However, the strategies they used may be causing kidney damage.

On average, obese participants with kidney disease were eating too much protein.

Americans typically eat about 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. Patients with chronic kidney disease are told to lower their protein intake to 0.6 to 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day.

Some popular weight-loss diets call for as much as 1.9 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. If kidney disease patients are trying to lose weight with such diets, they could be putting their kidneys at further risk.

The researchers also found that eight percent of kidney disease patients trying to lose weight used diet pills as part of their weight loss regimen.

Both high-protein diets and diet pills are not recommended for kidney disease patients, as both of these weight-loss methods are associated with kidney damage.

The authors believe that more research is needed to find safer ways to lose weight while protecting kidney function.

The results of the study are published in the International Journal of Obesity.