Red Meat CKD’s Greatest Enemy?

Among the numerous foods that have been shown to worsen kidney disease, red meat is one of the worst offenders. This news comes to us from a recent study published in an issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. The study aimed to show the correlation between red meat intake and accelerated progression of Chronic Kidney Disease to End-Stage Renal Disease. Although current guidelines state limiting protein consumption can help delay CKD’s progression, research into whether overall limitation of protein consumption can slow kidney function decline is sorely lacking. In the study, which analyzed kidney function in 63,257 Chinese adults from Singapore, other non-red meat protein sources such as poultry, fish, eggs, or dairy products seemed to have no effect…red meat, on the other hand was a different story

In Singapore, roughly 97% of red meat intake comes from pork dishes.After an average follow-up of 15.5 years, the researchers found that red meat intake was strongly associated with an increased risk of end-stage renal disease with the heaviest red-meat consumers exhibiting a 40% increased risk. Some preventative measures were also discovered as a result of the study. Soy and legumes seemed to have a protective effect on the kidneys and red meat substitution with another protein during at least one daily serving can reduce end-stage renal disease risk by as much as 62%.

Overall, the study seemed to echo the general consensus that higher red meat consumption results in greater impairment to kidney function. It’s important to note that the study seems to also indicate that individuals suffering from kidney disease can still consume protein, as long as it comes from an alternative source. If, however, a vegetarian diet seems impossible and they find meat is something they absolutely cannot live without, then fish and poultry are still much better choices than red meat like beef and pork.

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