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Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 Oct;60(4):579-85.

Effect of moderate dietary protein restriction on the progression of overt diabetic nephropathy: a 6-mo prospective study.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, Johannesburg, South Africa.


To assess whether moderate dietary protein restriction can delay the progression of overt diabetic nephropathy, 22 subjects with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus were randomly assigned to an unrestricted protein diet (> 1.6 body wt-1.d-1) or a moderately protein-restricted diet (0.8 body wt-1.d-1) and followed prospectively for six mo. Direct isotope methods were used to assess renal function. Protein intake was assessed by measurement of urinary urea nitrogen. The two groups were well-matched for age, sex, duration of diabetes, glycemic control, blood pressure, and degree of renal insufficiency. Patients consuming the unrestricted protein diet (n = 11) showed a progressive decline in glomerular filtration rate of 1.3 with no change in proteinuria. Patients consuming the moderately protein-restricted diet showed a marked decrease in the degree of proteinuria (2.15-1.13 g/d, P = 0.036) and a stabilization of glomerular filtration rate. This occurred independently of changes in blood pressure or glycemic control. Moderate dietary protein restriction can ameliorate progression of overt diabetic nephropathy.

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