Scientists from Santa Maria Alla Gruccia Hospital and elsewhere found that a very low-calorie keto diet effectively reduces weight in people with obesity and mild kidney failure.
The aim of the keto diet is to force the body into using a different type of fuel.
Instead of relying on sugar (glucose) that comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat.
The keto diet is primarily used to help reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures in children. But very-low-calorie ketogenic diets are an effective and increasingly used tool for weight loss.
Traditionally, a high protein, ketogenic diet is often looked at with concern by doctors due to the potential harm they pose to kidney function.
In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the effects and safety of a very low-calorie keto diet in patients with obesity and mild kidney failure.
A condition in which the kidneys lose the ability to remove waste and balance fluids.
The team tested 92 people who followed a very-low-calorie keto diet for approximately 3 months.
Among these people, 38 had mild kidney failure and 54 had no kidney condition and were therefore categorized as control.
The researchers found that the average weight loss was nearly 20% of the initial weight, with a strong reduction in fat mass.
They found an improvement in metabolic health and no changes in liver and kidney function.
In addition, no differences in efficacy and safety outcomes were found between the two groups.
Importantly, 27.7% of people with mild renal failure reported better heart function after dietary intervention.
Based on the findings, the team concludes that when used under the supervision of healthcare workers, a very low-calorie keto diet is an effective and safe treatment for weight loss in people with obesity and mild kidney failure.
The research was published in Nutrients and conducted by Adriano Bruci et al.
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