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Healthy diet may help kidney disease patients live longer


  • A healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, cereals, whole grains, and fibre, and low in red meat, salt, and refined sugars was linked with a reduced risk of early death in an analysis of 7 studies.

The latest findings from an international team of nutrition and dietetics researchers has shown that a diet that emphasises healthy foods rather than individual nutrients may help patients with chronic kidney disease live longer. Chronic kidney disease affects 10% to 13% of adults.

These findings appeared in the latest issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).

Patients with chronic kidney disease are advised to follow dietary recommendations that restrict individual nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, protein, and sodium; however, empirical evidence suggests that these restrictions - which can be difficult to abide by - have limited effects on reducing patients’ risk of premature death.

Emerging evidence indicates that overall eating patterns may have greater effects on patients’ health and longevity. To investigate, a team led by Giovanni Strippoli, MD, PhD from the University of Bari, Italy and Diaverum, Sweden and Jaimon Kelly of Bond University, in Australia analysed the medical literature, finding 7 relevant studies that included a total of 15,285 participants.

Healthy dietary patterns were generally higher in fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, cereals, whole grains, and fibre, and they were lower in red meat, salt, and refined sugars. In 6 studies, healthy dietary patterns were consistently associated with a 20% to 30% lower rate of mortality, with 46 fewer deaths per 1,000 people over 5 years. There was no significant association between healthy dietary patterns and risk of kidney failure.

“Chronic kidney disease now affects about 10% to 13% of the adult population and substantially increases risks of cardiovascular complications and early death,” said Professor Strippoli.

“In the absence of randomised trials and large individual cohort studies, this study is the best available evidence to drive clinical decision-making by patients and doctors on whole dietary approaches in chronic kidney disease.”

Study co-authors include Suetonia Palmer, PhD, Shu Ning Wai, MSc, Marinella Ruospo, MSc, Juan-Jesus Carrero, PhD,and Katrina Campbell, PhD.

The article, entitled “Healthy Dietary Patterns, Mortality and End-Stage Kidney Disease in CKD: A Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies,” appears online at, doi: 10.2215/CJN.06190616.


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