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Side Effects of a Ketogenic Diet Part 1: Kidney Stones

Lately there has been quite a bit of “buzz” about ketogenic diets, also called keto-diets, and the benefits this nutritional lifestyle can have on your health.

A large portion of the population who have embraced the keto lifestyle have enjoyed decreases in blood pressure, better control of there blood sugar levels, improvement in symptoms of epilepsy and, as seems to be the most popular benefit, weight loss.

Nutritional ketosis, which can be achieved by seriously reducing carbohydrate intake, is a state whereby your body converts fat into energy (ketone bodies) which your body uses as fuel in place of glucose (blood sugar).

But could there be bad news to temper the positive benefits?

In one study of pediatric patients utilizing the 4:1 ketogenic diet (4g of fat for every 1g of protein/carbohydrate) the participants were shown to be prone to developing kidney stones. It is important to note that the participants were children and the diet was 80% fat.

The kidney stones were not a direct result of increased fat intake per se.

A ketogenic diet doesn’t illicit a significant insulin response. Insulin plays a large role in sparing potassium from urinary excretion by storing it in your body’s cells. When insulin levels are low, your body may eliminate potassium which is needed to prevent the formation of kidney stones.

The good news is by taking a potassium citrate supplement you can mitigate the risk of developing kidney stones by making sure you have sufficient potassium in your body while also taking advantage of the benefits of a ketogenic diet.

Speak to the Live Well Team at Pharmasave Summerland to learn more about k the “keto” lifestyle and how it effects your health.


Dan Cassidy, Nutritional Product Advisor