Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a condition characterized by damage to kidney structure and/or ability to filter blood, leading to a gradual loss of kidney function over time. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CKD currently afflicts nearly 37 million US adults: approximately 15% of all US adults. (1)  It is predicted that by 2035 almost half of all US adults aged 65 and older will develop CKD during their lifetime. (2)

CKD incidence and progression are significantly influenced by diet and eating patterns. Western diet, which is characterized by a high intake of red meat, processed foods, and added fat and sugars, is associated with a decline of kidney function.(3)  On the other hand, Mediterranean diet and Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH), which are characterized by lower red meat intake and greater intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains leading to a lower dietary acid load, have been associated with lower incidence and progression of CKD. (4) However, the relationship between diet and kidney function is highly dynamic and dependent not only on the stages of the kidney disease but also on individual patient physiological factors.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are responsible for up to two-thirds of CKD cases. Obesity, which leads to these two conditions, also is considered a major risk factor. The good news is that all these conditions can be managed through dietary modification. (2-4)


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National chronic kidney disease fact sheet, 2017. Updated August 2019.

  2. Hoerger TJ, Simpson SA, Yarnoff BO, et al. The future burden of CKD in the United States: A simulation model for the CDC CKD initiative. Am J Kidney Dis. 2015;65(3):403-411.

  3. Lin J, Fung TT, Hu FB, Curhan GC. Association of dietary patterns with albuminuria and kidney function decline in older white women: A subgroup analysis from the Nurses’ Health Study. Am J Kidney Dis. 2011;57(2):245-25

  4. Klahr S, Levey AS, Beck GJ, et al. The effects of dietary protein restriction and blood-pressure control on the progression of chronic renal disease. Modification of Diet in Renal Disease study group. N Engl J Med. 1994;330(13):877-884.