Kidney stones are hard deposits compiled of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys.
Kidney stones have many causes and can affect any part of your urinary tract — from your kidneys to your bladder. Often, stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.
Anyone that has experienced kidney stones, know how painful and unpleasant they are.
The development of kidney stones is certainly a concern if you’re switching to a diet in which you’re eating more protein. (Though, again, the keto diet is more of a moderate-protein diet.)
Consuming high levels of red meat and not drinking a lot of water may make stones more likely.
On a keto diet, you need to stay hydrated and replenish electrolytes (minerals like sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium). If not, this can increase your risk of side effects like stones.
A true ketogenic diet is low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat. So there’s no solid evidence that protein consumption at levels seen in a typical ketogenic diet could cause kidney stones.
Past research gives a small glimpse into how likely stones may be.
A study published in the Journal of Child Neurology on children using the keto diet to control epilepsy found that about 1 in 15 developed kidney stones, though supplements of oral potassium citrate reduced this risk.
Talk to your doctor if you have risk factors, like a family or personal history of stones, about any precautions you should take when on the keto diet.
But bottom line, clinical experience is that kidney stones are rare during a well-formulated ketogenic diet.