Overweight Americans risk kidney damage with weight loss

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CLEVELAND—Overweight Americans with chronic kidney disease trying to lose weight may be causing further kidney damage by taking diet pills and choosing  improper diets, according to a study by Cleveland Clinic researchers published online in the International Journal of Obesity.

With 1 in 5 overweight Americans suffering from chronic kidney disease the analysis of food choices and lifestyle habits of 10,971 overweight adults was taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a federally-administered assessment of the overall health and nutritional status of Americans.

Of the overweight and obese patients with kidney disease included in the survey, 50 percent reported that they had attempted to lose weight in the past year. The survey showed that, on average, obese Americans with kidney disease consume protein in amounts that are above the recommended levels prescribed by the National Kidney Foundation for chronic kidney disease patients.

The typical American diet each day includes approximately 1.2g of protein per kilogram of body weight. Patients with CKD are advised to consume 0.6g to 0.75g protein per kilogram of body weight each day and popular high-protein diets may call for up to 1.9g per kilogram of body 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," said Sankar Navaneethan, M.D., a nephrologist in the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic and lead author of the study. "Rather than using fad diets or diet pills, overweight and obese people with kidney disease may adopt a weight loss plan that incorporates a low-protein, low-calorie diet, regular physical activity and close follow-up by their physicians."

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