- Following a plant-based diet—high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes—appears to reduce the risk for incident chronic kidney disease (CKD) and slows renal function decline.
Why this matters
- This is the first study to report an association in the general population.
- A small but statistically significant proportion of CKD cases could be avoided through diet alone.
- Data for 14,686 middle-aged respondents to a modified semiquantitative Willett food frequency questionnaire in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study.
- Researchers constructed indices for 4 diets: overall plant-based, healthy plant-based, less healthy plant-based, and provegetarian; all negatively scored animal foods.
- Funding: None disclosed.
- 4343 incident CKD cases were diagnosed over a median 24-year follow-up.
- Comparing fifth vs first quintile of adherence on CKD risk:
- Healthy plant-based diet: 14% reduction (HR=0.86; P=.001).
- Provegetarian diet: 10% reduction (HR=0.90; P=.03).
- Less healthy plant-based diet: 11% increase (HR=1.11; P=.04).
- Higher adherence was associated with lower annual decline in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR, in mL/minute/1.73 m2) for fifth vs first quintile of adherence to:
- Overall plant-based diet: −1.54 vs −1.68; P<.001.>
- Healthy plant-based diet: −1.55 vs −1.62; P=.01.
- Self-reported dietary information, questionnaire limitations.