Keto And Kidney Stones

keto and kidney stones

The keto diet can offer a long list of health benefits, from weight loss to lower blood pressure and balanced blood sugar. However, as is true with any diet, there are always factors to consider when it comes to overall health. One risk factor associated with the keto diet is kidney stones. Some people claim that this diet contains too much protein, while others blame an imbalance of minerals. 

Let’s take a deeper look at what kidney stones are, the link between the ketogenic diet and kidney stones, and tips for preventing them naturally.

What is a Keto Diet?

The keto diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. No more than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. When you are on a keto diet, you are eating too few carbohydrates to support your body’s energy needs. Therefore, your body turns to burning your stored body fat to provide energy. When your body burns body fat as fuel, it produces ketone bodies, substances made in your liver. Your body enters a metabolic state called “ketosis”. If you follow a strict keto diet, your body will reach ketosis in about 1 week. This helps with weight loss. The ratio is usually 60 percent fat, 35 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrates.

What are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are biologically formed foreign structures that are present in the kidneys. They are formed from various minerals and salts that cannot be excreted from the body and begin to accumulate in the kidneys. The initial stage of stone formation is a small body that begins to build up in the hollow structure of the kidney.

There are two possible ways in which stones can develop; one is that they stay in a specific place and do not cause pain in that area. In the other case, a kidney stone may travel down into the ureter (the area between the kidney and the bladder). Through the ureter, it can either pass out of the urine or get stuck in this area. This can cause many problems with the bladder and lead to urinary tract infections or chronic kidney disease.

The Link Between the Keto Diet & Kidney Stones 

The keto diet produces acidosis, so the main effect is expected to be a decrease in urine citrate it may also increase the amount of uric acid in the urine and the acidosis may also increase the amount of calcium.

Since the keto diet is very high in animal protein, this will increase the amount of uric acid in the urine, which will both promote uric acid stones and increase the risk of calcium oxalate stones. The increased protein will also contribute to the acid load on the kidneys and promote bone resorption. The increased acid load will reduce citrate in the urine. 

From above, the link between keto and kidney stones seems pretty straightforward. Ketosis does increase your risk of developing kidney stones. Now, while we’ve talked about the right diet to prevent kidney stones before, we’ve never delved into a diet that is not suitable for preventing kidney stones. After receiving a ton of information on social media about the ketosis/kidney stone connection, we decided to dig a little deeper. 

Ways to Prevent Kidney Stones Naturally

The problem with kidney stones is that they tend to recur. In fact, about 50% of people who form a kidney stone will form another one within the next ten years. 

Therefore, if you’ve had a kidney stone before, taking preventative measures should be a health priority for you. Here are six natural ways to prevent kidney stones:

Stay Hydrated

Not drinking enough water, or losing too much water, can increase your risk of kidney stones. Fluid is needed to move minerals and waste through your kidneys. If you are dehydrated, then your kidneys retain too many minerals and can form stones.

Eat Less Sodium

Because of the effect of sodium on calcium excretion and reabsorption, a high sodium diet can be a trigger for calcium stones. 

When you consume too much sodium, your body also increases the amount of calcium in your urine. This causes more calcium to pass through the kidneys – increasing the risk of kidney stones. 

Eat Fewer Oxalate-Rich Foods

Oxalates are known as “antinutrients” because they bind to other nutrients – mainly calcium and iron – and cause them to be excreted from the body. Although most of this binding occurs in the colon, it is possible for oxalates to bind to calcium in the kidneys as well.

For this reason, dietary oxalate may play a role in the development of calcium stones. Foods containing high levels of oxalate increase the excretion of oxalate in the kidneys. This, in turn, increases the risk of developing calcium oxalate stones.

Avoid Vitamin C Supplements

As mentioned above, oxalates can be found in a variety of foods. However, they can also be made in your body.

In fact, the metabolism of vitamin C is one way your body produces oxalates on its own, and studies have shown that high-dose vitamin C therapy can lead to increased oxalate production.

Manage Your Blood Sugar

People with metabolic syndrome and diabetes have an increased risk of developing uric acid kidney stones. This is due to a decreased ability to eliminate ammonium, causing your urine to become acidic. 

It is believed that insulin resistance is the culprit for this decreased ability to eliminate ammonium. Therefore, managing your blood sugar (especially if you have metabolic syndrome) may be an important part of preventing kidney stones.

Eat Enough Calcium-Rich Foods

Getting enough calcium in your diet is critical to the health of your bones, heart, muscles and metabolism. This important nutrient plays a role in almost every process in your body and provides a vital source of nutrients for your entire body. 

When it comes to kidney stones, you may be thinking that avoiding calcium would be a good idea. While this makes sense on paper – calcium intake can actually help prevent kidney stones from forming.. 


We can see that the keto diet does lead to kidney stones, but it is a temporary issue and not for everyone. If you encounter this question, just take the tips above to fix it. If all measures are not working, you then have to consult your healthcare providers.

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