Maintaining a healthy diet may help prevent kidney disease, according to an analysis of published studies. The findings appear in an upcoming issue of CJASN.
Making dietary changes can help slow the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD), but it’s not clear whether a healthy diet is protective against the development of the disease. To investigate, Jaimon Kelly, PhD, Katrina Bach (Bond University, Australia), and their colleagues analyzed all relevant studies published through February 2019.
The analysis included 18 studies with a total of 630,108 adults who were followed for an average of 10.4 years. Healthy dietary patterns typically encouraged higher intakes of vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, fish, and low-fat dairy, and lower intakes of red and processed meats, sodium, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
A healthy dietary pattern was associated with a 30% lower incidence of CKD. It was also linked with a 23% lower incidence of albuminuria, an early indicator of kidney damage.
“These results add to the accumulating evidence base supporting the potential benefit of adhering to a healthy dietary pattern — such as the Mediterranean, DASH diet, or National Dietary Guidelines — and the primary prevention of chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, cancer, and all-cause mortality,” said Dr. Kelly. “These results may assist in developing public health prevention programs for CKD, which may assist in reducing the burden of the disease.” Dr. Kelly noted that dietary approaches to kidney health that target individual (or multiple) nutrients can be difficult, but focusing on whole foods rather than nutrients can make it easier for clinicians to educate patients and easier for patients to carry out.
“Randomized clinical trials with sufficient follow-up time to ascertain meaningful kidney outcomes are necessary to determine whether a change in dietary patterns is causally related to favorable kidney health outcomes,” wrote the authors of an accompanying editorial. “Meanwhile, there may be sufficient observational evidence for clinicians to emphasize the importance of healthy dietary patterns to individuals who are healthy or who are at risk of developing CKD.”
An accompanying Patient Voice editorial notes the importance of including children in future studies.
Materials provided by American Society of Nephrology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.