(HealthDay News) — Greater adherence to healthy plant-based diets and a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to a study published online in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Hyunju Kim, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted analyses among 14,686 middle-aged adults. Four plant-based diet indices were used to characterize diets. The authors examined their correlation with incident CKD, while adjusting for confounding variables.

The researchers found that 4343 incident CKD cases occurred during a median follow-up of 24 years. There was a correlation for greater adherence to a healthy plant-based diet (hazard ratio for quintile 5 vs quintile 1, 0.86) and a provegetarian diet (hazard ratio, 0.90) with lower risk for CKD; greater adherence to a less healthy plant-based diet correlated with elevated risk (hazard ratio for quintile 5 vs quintile 1, 1.11). Slower estimated glomerular filtration rate decline was seen in association with greater adherence to an overall plant-based diet and a healthy plant-based diet. A total of 4.1% of CKD was attributable to lower adherence to healthy plant-based diets.

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“Assuming a causal relationship, we found that a small but statistically significant percentage (4 percent) of CKD cases could have been avoided with higher adherence to plant-based diets,” the authors write.


Kim H, Caulfield LE, Garcia-Larsen V, et al. Plant-Based Diets and Incident CKD and Kidney Function. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. April 2019, CJN.12391018; doi:10.2215/CJN.12391018

Gee PO. A Nutritional Lie or Lifestyle? Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. April 2019, CJN.03450319; doi:10.2215/CJN.03450319