The Program: How and Why Does Atkins Work
Atkins Is Not a High-Protein Diet
Let us set your mind to rest about concerns that Atkins is overly high in protein and can therefore cause certain health problems. With a typical intake of 12 to 18 ounces of protein foods daily, Atkins can hardly be considered a high-protein diet. Instead, we regard it as an optimal protein diet.
In any case, most of the concerns about eating too much protein are unfounded, in that they’re based on limited or flawed research. For example, the misconception that a high protein intake can damage kidneys probably arose from the fact that individuals who already have advanced kidney disease cannot clear away the waste from even a moderate protein intake. There’s absolutely no evidence that any healthy person has experienced kidney damage from eating the amount of protein consumed on Atkins. Far more dangerous is failure to drink enough water, as dehydration is a much greater stressor on the kidneys.
A high-protein diet has been shown to increase calcium excretion in the urine, prompting concern about a negative effect on bone health. However, recent research indicates that this loss of calcium is offset by increased absorption of calcium and the net effect is increased bone mass. Concerns about an increased risk of developing osteoporosis in healthy individuals are likewise unfounded.