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Red Meat Consumption Strongly Associated with Increased Risk of Kidney Failure

Jul 15, 2016 09:49 AM EDT

A new study revealed that depending on red meat alone to provide daily dietary protein intake may increase the risk of kidney failure.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, suggests that people who have high red meat intake have a 40 percent increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease that may progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

People suffering from chronic kidney disease were advised to restrict their dietary protein intake to manage their disease and slow the progression to ESRD. Aside from red meat, other food sources of proteins may include poultry, fish/shellfish, eggs, dairy products, soy, and legumes. However, there have been limited evidence showing the efficacy of restricting or limiting specific food sources of protein intake may slow kidney function decline.

In order to determine the relationship between different food sources of protein and kidney function, the researchers analyzed 63,257 Chinese adults from the Singapore Chinese Health Study. The red meat intake of the participants is consisted of 97 percent pork, while other food sources of protein included poultry, fish/shellfish, eggs, dairy products, soy, and legumes.

After conducting an average of 15.5 years of follow-up, the researchers discovered that participant who consumed the highest amount of red meat or the top 25 percent of the participants were 40 percent more likely to develop ESRD compared to the participants who consumed the lowest amount of red meat or at the lowest 25 percent. Furthermore, the researchers found no association between increased risk of ESRD and consumption of poultry, fish, eggs, or dairy products, while soy and legumes appeared to be slightly protective.

Additionally, researchers noted that substituting one serving of red meat with other sources of protein reduced the risk of ESRD by up to 62 percent.

"Our findings suggest that these individuals can still maintain protein intake but consider switching to plant-based sources; however, if they still choose to eat meat, fish/shellfish and poultry are better alternatives to red meat," explained lead author Woon-Puay Koh, MBBS (Hons), PhD (Duke-NUS Medical School and Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health in National University of Singapore) in a statetment.

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