Have you ever thought whether the processed foods you are eating are causing adverse health effects? Processed foods that are laden with phosphorus might increase the risk for kidney diseases.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins claim that, “reducing your waist circumference and cutting down on dietary phosphorus has been linked to lower levels of protein in the urine (albuminuria). The presence of this protein in urine is one of the first indicators of kidney disease.” The study found that every one-unit increase in waist-to-hip ratio was linked to a loss of blood flow through the kidney's tiniest filters, the glomeruli, of about 4 milli litres per minute.

Kidneys are the major excretory organs in our body. They are also known as the guardians of our body’s nutritional wealth. Phosphate is widely distributed in all the cells and body fluids, and plays a vital role in enzyme reactions and tissue metabolism. The metabolism of phosphate and calcium is closely linked, and these minerals usually occur together in food. The serum level of phosphorus increases in kidney failure.

As dietary phosphorus is readily absorbed by the small intestine, any excess phosphorus absorbed is excreted by the kidneys. The regulation of blood calcium and phosphorus levels is interrelated through the actions of parathyroid hormone and Vitamin D.

Some investigators are concerned about the increasing amounts of phosphates in our diet which can be attributed to phosphoric acid in soft drinks and phosphate additives in a number of processed foods. Serum phosphorus increases with a high phosphorus diet. High phosphate levels in the blood reduce the formation of the active form of Vitamin D (Calcitriol) in the kidneys, hence reducing the blood calcium. This further increases PTH released by the parathyroid glands and also decreases the urinary calcium excretion. Parathyroid hormone decreases tubular reabsorption of phosphate in the kidney, leading to increased excretion of phosphates.

Processed foods high in phosphorus increase acidity in blood which triggers the release of stress hormones and these stress hormones increase insulin in the body. Increased level of sugar in the blood gets converted to fat and hence gets stored in the adipose tissues throughout the body. Apple-shaped people are at more risk of getting this disease than pear-shaped people.Hence, limiting the intake of processed food may help prevent risks of kidney diseases.