Cutting Back Belly Fat and Processed Foods Can Reduce Kidney Disease Risk

kidney diseaseA new report in the American Journal of Kidney Disease highlights one more reason to cut down the belly fat—a reduced risk of kidney disease. Researchers at John Hopkins University found that individuals who trimmed the fat, secreted less protein in their urine. (Excess protein in the urine is an early indicator of kidney disease.) Researchers also uncovered another way to lower kidney disease risk—limit your intake of processed foods concentrated with phosphorous!

Kidney Disease and Obesity

Obesity puts you at risk for a variety of illnesses…many of them life-threatening. You are at greater risk for gallstones, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, coronary artery disease (CAD), stroke and sleep apnea to name just a few. The John Hopkins study expanded this risk list by confirming the link between kidney disease and obesity.

Researchers analyzed protein levels in the urine of 481 obese patients with healthy kidneys. They also measured belly fat, phosphorous intake and weight loss variables. At the end of six months, these same factors were measured. Results showed that decreases in belly fat (specifically a 4.2 centimeter reduction in waistline) correlated to a 25% reduction in protein levels in the urine. Independent of belly fat, results also confirmed that a decrease in phosphorus (314 milligrams) impacted an 11% decrease in urine protein levels. According to the findings, combining weight loss with lower phosphorus levels can significantly reduce your risk of kidney disease.

Phosphorous and Kidney Disease

We need phosphorous to build strong bones and teeth, to help transport oxygen to tissues, and to convert the foods we eat into energy for the body.

Phosphorous is found naturally and in abundance in fruits, vegetables and meats. Unfortunately, processed foods contain added phosphorus that is not absorbed by the body in the same way as phosphorus found in natural foods. Healthy kidneys remove excess phosphorus by flushing the mineral out through the urine. When kidney function is compromised, however, excess phosphorous is can be dangerous.

High phosphorous levels are on the rise. According to the Food and Drug Nutrition Board phosphorous intake has gone up 10% to 15% due to increased consumption of processed foods and beverages.

Cutting back on processed foods is a healthy decision regardless of your weight or if you are a high-risk candidate for kidney disease. If you cannot eliminate your consumption of processed foods all together, then at least check the labels for the PHOS indicator and opt for a packaged food without the added phosphorous dose.