Health and Medicine

The Consumption of Red Meat Is Linked to an Increased Risk of Kidney Failure

Red Meat Failure

It may be time to start thinking of substituting the red meats you are currently eating with other protein alternatives. A new study shows that the risk of experiencing kidney failure goes up according to the amount of red meat consumed. Lowering your red meat consumption may help reduce that risk significantly.

Chronic kidney disease can lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and as a result requires either a kidney transplant or dialysis. Today more and more people are developing kidney disease. It’s recommended that individuals introduce a restricted protein diet into their lifestyles to better manage chronic kidney disease, and to slow down any possible progression leading to end-stage renal disease. There is now evidence that reducing red meat intake significantly reduces the risk of kidney failure.

Woon-Puay Koh, who holds a PhD from the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and from Duke-NUS Medical School, led a team of researchers that were studying how kidney function relates to dietary protein sources. His team looked at data from the Singapore Chinese Health Study. This study examined 63,257 adults of Chinese descent that were living in Singapore. The average intake of red meat amongst those studied consisted of 97% pork while legumes, dairy products, fish, soy, eggs and poultry made up the other 3% of protein intake. The study partakers were followed up for an average of 15.5 years to see the association between red meat protein and kidney disease.

Researchers examined the findings and discovered that a high intake of red meat strongly related to ESRD. Recipients in the study that were eating the highest amount of red meat saw an increased risk of getting ESRD as opposed to the people that were eating the lowest amount. In fact, the risk for the people consuming the high amounts of red meat was 40% higher.

At the same time, there was no direct association that could be linked to an intake of dairy products, eggs, fish, or poultry to ESRD. Legumes and soy were even somewhat protective. It was also shown that substituting these alternative protein sources listed above for one red meat serving could reduce the ESRD risk by as much as 62%.

According to Dr. Koh, the findings show that CKD patients and even the general population should consider substituting plant-based protein sources for meat. For meat lovers that can’t give it up altogether, he suggests choosing poultry, shellfish or fish over red meat.

The full study was published in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.