Consumption of red meat may increase the chances of kidney failure, according to a new study which suggests that eating alternative sources of protein such as fish and eggs may reduce the risk.
Current guidelines recommend restricting dietary protein intake to help manage CKD and slow progression to ESRD; however, there is limited evidence that overall dietary protein restriction or limiting specific food sources of protein intake may slow kidney function decline in the general population, they said.
To examine the relationship between dietary intake of major sources of protein and kidney function, researchers from Duke-NUS Medical School and National University of Singapore analysed data from the Singapore Chinese Health Study, a prospective study of 63,257 Chinese adults in Singapore.
This is a population where 97 per cent of red meat intake consisted of pork. Other food sources of protein included poultry, fish or shellfish, eggs, dairy products, soy, and legumes.
After an average follow-up of 15.5 years, researchers found that red meat intake was strongly associated with an increased risk of ESRD in a dose-dependent manner.
People consuming the highest amounts (top 25 per cent) of red meat had a 40 per cent increased risk of developing ESRD compared with people consuming the lowest amounts (lowest 25 per cent), researchers said.
No association was found with intakes of poultry, fish, eggs, or dairy products, while soy and legumes appeared to be slightly protective. Substituting one serving of red meat with other sources of protein reduced the risk of ESRD by up to 62 per cent, they said.
“Our findings suggest that CKD 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,” said Woon-Puay Koh from Duke-NUS Medical School.
These findings were published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.