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Miner Electrolyte Metab. 1999 Jul-Dec;25(4-6):311-6.

Low protein diets are not needed in chronic renal failure.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Low protein diets have been used for a long time in the conservative management of chronic renal failure as they have a beneficial effect in preventing the appearance of symptoms. However, with the exception of the beneficial effect on hyperphosphatemia of the very low protein diets supplemented with ketoacids, they have no proven effects on the other aspects of the uremic syndrome. Moreover, the weight of the evidence suggests that the effect of these diets on preservation of GFR, if any, in patients with nondiabetic renal disease is small and of little clinical relevance. There is very little evidence in the literature of its role in patients with diabetes. The nutritional safety of these diets is still suspect. Patients with chronic renal failure have low energy intakes, which is further reduced when these diets are prescribed. Metabolic studies predict that these patients would be in negative nitrogen balance and in fact, even nutritionally sound, nondiabetic patients enrolled in the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease Study developed subclinical signs of malnutrition. It is possible that the nutritional decline may have been more pronounced on longer duration of follow-up. Finally, these diets are difficult to follow, leading to issues of compliance and exert a great toll on the time of the dietitians. Hence, we conclude that low protein diets are not necessary in chronic renal failure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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