People have all sorts of ideas about low-carb diets based on what they’ve heard somewhere or just on what they think they know about them. It’s why concepts like “artery-clogging” saturated fats still pervade our culture despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary . It doesn’t help that these myths surrounding healthy carbohydrate-restricted diets are perpetuated on a daily basis by so many so-called health “experts” in both the medical and nutrition fields and the general public is none-the-wiser to contradict any of it since they are merely living their lives and trusting the sources of information they are paying attention to. It’s what makes the idea of creating a cultural shift in thinking in favor of low-carb living that much more difficult–but it won’t deter me or the many others who are out here fighting the good fight to educate, encourage and inspire others to give livin’ la vida low-carb a try for themselves.
I literally receive hundreds upon hundreds of e-mails daily from readers who are searching for answers to their questions about their low-carb lifestyle, help with weight loss, or managing some chronic disease they are dealing with. Although I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, I’m always happy to share from my own experiences to see if that information can be beneficial to the person who wrote to me. It’s my pleasure to hear from readers and to offer up assistance in any way that I can. However, from time to time I’ll receive an e-mail from a reader who has an interesting question that is beyond my scope of full understanding enough to share a detailed explanation of what’s possibly going on. It’s okay that I don’t know everything there is to know about nutrition and it’s relationship to being healthy. The good news is I have a TON of connections with people who do. And I decided to tap into that resource again this week to answer a question that came from my fellow health blogger Kelly The Kitchen Kop .
She said she was working on a blog post about low-carb diets and their relationship to kidney stones after becoming concerned when she read a column by Perfect Health Diet author Paul Jaminet entitled “Dangers of Zero-Carb Diets, IV: Kidney Stones” where he argues that people consuming a ketogenic low-carb diet (less than 50g daily) are 500 times more likely to develop kidney stones comprise of uric acid and 50 times more likely to have the more common calcium oxalate kidney stones occur. You’ll recall I just had Paul Jaminet on my podcast last week where we talked about his aversion to people being in a ketogenic state which is why he recommends consuming white rice and potatoes to keep carbohydrate levels lowered but non-ketogenic. It seems Paul is of the opinion that uric acid development is much higher in people who eat a low-carb diet which is one of the culprits in kidney stones and is also a leading contributor to the development of gout (I’ve addressed the gout issue previously in this post ).
Of course, he’s referring to people on a “zero-carb diet” in his post and notes that carbohydrate calories should be 20% of total energy consumption. For some low-carbers, they’re already there. But does that mean those of us who for whatever reason choose to consume a more ketogenic level of carbohydrates are putting ourselves at risk for getting kidney stones? I didn’t know the answer, so I decided to throw this one to my expert friends in the low-carb research and medical community for some assistance in answering it. For the record, I’ve never had a kidney stone in my life and I’ve been eating high-fat, moderate protein, ketogenic low-carb for over seven years and counting. Could this be an issue that is less about your nutrition and more about genetic predisposition? Let’s find out!
Dr. William Davis, MD , cardiologist and health blogger at the “Heart Scan Blog”
Dr. William Yancy, MD , researcher at Duke University and Veterans Administration Medical Center
Dr. Barry Groves, PhD , “Second Opinions” blogger and author of Trick and Treat
Jacqueline Eberstein, RN , “Controlled Carbohydrate Nutrition” owner who worked with Dr. Atkins for 30 years
Dr. Richard Johnson, MD , renal disease specialist at the University of Colorado-Denver
Dr. Stephen Phinney , noted low-carb researcher and co-author of The New Atkins For A New You
Now that the low-carb experts have weighed in, what say YOU? Have you ever experienced kidney stones? Did you even think for a moment that it was your low-carb diet that contributed to the development of them or had you been dealing with this issue long before you started livin’ la vida low-carb? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below so we can benefit from your wisdom regarding kidney stones and low-carb diets.