Singapore-Red meat may take a toll on the kidneys that increases risk for kidney disease and eventually kidney failure, a large study suggests.
The authors also found that replacing some red meat in the diet with other types of protein – whether chicken, fish, eggs or vegetable sources – might dramatically reduce that risk.
“There is an increase in numbers of individuals developing chronic kidney disease worldwide, and many progress to end-stage renal disease, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant,” Woon-Puay Koh told Reuters Health by email.
“Current guidelines recommend restricting dietary protein intake in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease to help reduce symptoms and slow progression to end-stage renal disease,” said Koh, a researcher at the National University of Singapore and the study’s senior author.
Though limiting protein staves off progression of existing kidney disease, little is known about whether protein, and meat in particular, contributes to the risk for developing kidney disease, Koh’s team writes in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Globally, an estimated 500 million people have chronic kidney disease, the researchers note.
The researchers examined data on more than 60,000 adults living in Singapore and participating in a long-term health study. They grouped the participants according to how much protein they ate, and after 15 years of follow-up, found that about 1,000 people had developed kidney failure.
The study team found that participants who ate the largest amount of red meat had about a 40 percent greater risk of developing kidney failure compared with people consuming the lowest amounts of meat.
However, the researchers didn’t find any associations between kidney health and intake of poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products or legumes. In fact, they calculated that substituting some other source of protein for one daily serving of red meat reduced the risk of kidney failure by up to 62 percent.