Your kidneys and Banting: Can you eat an LCHF Diet with 1 kidney?

On today’s episode of The Ask Prof Noakes Podcast we look at the effects of living with one kidney and your fluid consumption when following the LCHF Diet. We get advice from Prof. Tim Noakes on how much a healthy person should drink vs a person with kidney problems.

Your kidneys and Banting

Annette got in touch with us this week and she wants to know about water and fluid intake on the Banting or LCHF diet.

For her, particularly it is a concern because she only has one kidney. She has been living with one kidney since the mid-1980s and her urologist has told her that if she drinks too much, the kidney might not be able to cope.

In general, how much water should you be drinking on the Banting or LCHF Diet for someone who has got two healthy kidneys, for someone, who, perhaps like Annette, has only got one or has kidney issues, what should they be looking at?

Prof Tim Noakes: Well, as humans we require about 2.5 litres of water a day and a lot of that comes from our foods. We probably drink about 1 to 1.5 litres a day.
That is the minimum requirement. Humans cannot survive on about less than 2.5 litres a day. You would die if you had less so she has to, I would guess drink about 2.5 litres per day. What I do notice, on myself and certain people report this, is that they do drink more on the Banting diet and I think that is a good thing.

How much should you be drinking on the LCHF Diet?

I do not think that it is particularly bad but it might be another half a litre or so. It might be up to 3 litres.

The answer is if she is to drink too much, she will soon get symptoms that she will dilute her blood so she is starting to feel sick, so one kidney can very easily secrete 3 litres a day.

You know, it is astonishing, in two kidneys, if you have two functioning kidneys, you can secrete about 50 or more litres a day, so even if you are down to one, you can probably secrete an enormous amount of fluid.

Perhaps 50 litres is a little excessive but the kidney has a huge capacity to secrete water and even with one, she should be able to survive, to easily drink 3 litres per day and the kidney will be able to cope with it.

Normally people complain about the protein. They are worried about the protein and will the protein damage the single kidney but again, when you go on this diet, you do not actually eat very much more protein than you did normally. It is not a high protein diet so I do not think the protein carries any risk to people, even with one kidney.

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