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World Kidney Day: Keeping your kidneys healthy

It may not be on your calendar that 12th March is World Kidney Day, but we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to talk about these brilliant little organs and how diet is crucial to keeping them healthy.

This is a big deal because one in ten people have incurable chronic kidney disease (CKD) and issues like diabetes, high blood pressure and being overweight (and where you store fat in your body) are the top risk factors.

The humble kidneys are amazing organs, not only do they filter ‘bad’ stuff out of your blood but they also hold onto just the right amount of ‘good’ stuff, ensuring the optimum amounts of fluid, salts, minerals and other nutrients that your body requires are retained. They also help control blood cell formation and acidity and produce several hormones involved in these and other functions. Kidneys work around the clock, with about 320 pints of liquid flowing through them daily, so if they are put under too much stress they can start to malfunction.

As mentioned, that extra stress can come from diabetes, high blood pressure or being overweight and it is common to have two or even all three of these conditions at once. This is because broadly, they all result from the same lifestyle habits, so depending upon a person’s genetics, those habits may result in none of these issues or as many as all three.

Fortunately, these can all be treated, which can dramatically reduce your odds of CKD. Even moderate weight loss of five percent of body weight can improve these conditions and a good diet plan, including nutritionally-complete, meal replacement shakes and the like, can result in substantial weight loss. In fact, a personalised weight loss plan, with one-to-one consulting, was shown to not only improve these conditions but actually reverse some conditions and allow a high proportion of patients to get off all of their medication for diabetes and blood pressure in the landmark DiRECT study!

This study, published in The Lancet science journal, has actually changed the way doctors and dieticians think about diabetes care (and getting patients off medication for other diseases). We, at The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan, were proud to be the exclusive supplier of products for this research project.

I mentioned that where you store fat in your body is another risk factor and this is a reference to visceral fat. This is the fat that resides around your mid-section, close to most of your vital organs, including the kidneys. Well, several studies, including a German study that came out this month, show that this kind of fat is highly associated with CKD. For those wondering how to lose visceral fat, the answer is, ‘the same way you lose normal fat’. In fact, this is another example in which The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan has a strong foundation of evidence. A study conducted at the University of Copenhagen showed that our products and Plan reduces visceral fat by 28 percent!

So, especially on World Kidney Day, if you feel you have any of these conditions, you should consider embarking upon an effective weight loss plan.



In overweight or obese diabetic patients, a lifestyle intervention including caloric restriction and increased physical activity compared with a standard follow up based on education and support to sustain diabetes treatment reduced the risk for incident CKD by 30%, although it did not affect the incidence of cardiovascular events [83].

In a recent meta-analysis collating experimental studies in obese CKD patients, interventions aimed at reducing body weight showed coherent reductions in blood pressure, glomerular hyper-filtration and proteinuria [81]

Globally, these experimental findings provide a proof of concept for the usefulness of weight reduction and ACE inhibition interventions in the treatment of CKD in the obese.

Nutrients. 2020 Jan 27;12(2). pii: E333. doi: 10.3390/nu12020333.

Very Low-Calorie Ketogenic Diet: A Safe and Effective Tool for Weight Loss in Patients With Obesity and Mild Kidney Failure.

Bruci A1, Tuccinardi D2, Tozzi R3, Balena A3, Santucci S1, Frontani R1, Mariani S3, Basciani S3, Spera G3, Gnessi L3, Lubrano C3, Watanabe M3.


Very low-calorie ketogenic diets (VLCKD) are an effective and increasingly used tool for weight loss. Traditionally considered high protein, ketogenic diets are often looked at with concern by clinicians due to the potential harm they pose to kidney function. We herein evaluated the efficacy and safety of a VLCKD in patients with obesity and mild kidney failure. A prospective observational real-life study was conducted on ninety-two patients following a VLCKD for approximately 3 months. Thirty-eight had mild kidney failure and fifty-four had no renal condition and were therefore designated as control. Anthropometric parameters, bioelectrical impedance and biochemistry data were collected before and at the end of the dietary intervention. The average weight loss was nearly 20% of initial weight, with a significant reduction in fat mass. We report an improvement of metabolic parameters and no clinically relevant variation regarding liver and kidney function. Upon stratification based on kidney function, no differences in the efficacy and safety outcomes were found. Interestingly, 27.7% of patients with mild renal failure reported normalization of glomerular filtrate after dietary intervention. We conclude that, when conducted under the supervision of healthcare professionals, a VLCKD is an effective and safe treatment for weight loss in patients with obesity, including those affected by mild kidney failure.

PMID: 32012661