Protein binge can harm kidneys: doctor

By Chou Yan-yu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sat, Nov 11, 2017 - Page 3

Consuming a large amount of protein quickly — especially all-you-can-eat hot pot and buffet — is a common eating habit in Taiwan, but it can increase susceptibility to kidney problems in the long term, a Taipei-based doctor said yesterday.

“Chronic kidney disease is already a global trend. In Taiwan, 10 percent of the population, or about 2 million people, have chronic kidney disease, 90 percent of whom did not know they have it,” Taipei City Hospital Zhongxiao Branch Division of Nephrology director Chen Ta-lung (陳達隆) said.

“The symptoms of chronic kidney disease include fatigue, swelling and anemia, among others, which might be difficult to detect. That is a crucial reason why chronic kidney disease goes undetected,” Chen said.

The top 10 high-risk groups for chronic kidney disease are people with diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, a family history of kidney disease, high blood cholesterol levels, renal failure, metabolic syndrome, users of herbal medicine, older people and long-term users of painkillers, Chen said.

People in these groups should have health checks on a regular basis, Chen said.

The recommended daily protein intake is between 0.8g and 1g per kilogram of body weight, “but people with chronic kidney disease should only consume between 0.6g to 0.8g of protein per kilo,” Chen said.

“People should also avoid consuming large amounts of protein in a short period of time, which can cause a heavy burden on the kidneys,” he added.

Chen cited the case of a 65-year-old male patient with a history of high blood pressure who had his condition under control.

However, the man frequently drank about 1,000ml of milk in a short period of time while eating a large amount of seawater fish.

The man’s protein intake was too high and a blood test revealed that his renal function index was elevated, Chen said, adding that he was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

A balanced diet should be maintained, involving low levels of oil, sodium and sugar, and binge-eating should be avoided, Chen said.

He also discouraged people from taking painkillers without discretion and recommended checking for undissolved bubbles in the urine to avoid chronic kidney disease, hemodialysis or death.