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J Ren Nutr. 2013 May;23(3):164-71. doi: 10.1053/j.jrn.2012.10.004. Epub 2012 Nov 27.

Can renal nutrition education improve adherence to a low-protein diet in patients with stages 3 to 5 chronic kidney disease?

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Postgraduate Program in Food, Nutrition, and Health, Nutrition Institute, Rio de Janeiro State University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



Low adherence is frequently observed in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who are following a low-protein diet. We have evaluated whether a specific nutrition education program motivates patients with CKD who do not yet receive dialysis to reduce their protein intake and whether such a program improves adherence to a low-protein diet over and above standard dietary counseling.


This was a randomized controlled clinical trial conducted at the CKD outpatient clinic at Pedro Ernesto University Hospital, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


This study included adult patients with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 mL/min/1.73 m(2) who were receiving conservative treatment. Participants had received their first referrals to a renal dietitian.


Patients were randomized to a normal counseling group (individualized dietary program: 0.6 to 0.75 g protein/kg/day or 0.6 to 0.8 g/kg/day for patients with diabetes and 25 to 35 kcal/kg/day with sodium restriction) or an intense counseling group (same dietary program plus nutrition education materials). The nutrition education material included 4 different actions to improve patient knowledge and understanding of the low-protein and low-sodium diet. Both groups were followed by means of individual monthly visits to the outpatient clinic for 4 months.


We looked for a change in protein intake from baseline values as well as the adherence rate, assessed as a 20% decrease of the initial protein intake (by 24-hour food recall).


Eighty-nine patients completed the study (normal counseling n = 46; intense counseling n = 43). The number of patients who adhered to a low-protein diet was high but did not differ between groups (in the last visit 69% vs. 48%; P = .48; intense vs. normal counseling, respectively). The reduction in protein intake from baseline values was greater for the intense counseling group compared with the normal counseling group (at the last visit, -20.7 g/day [-30.9%] vs. -10.5 g/day [-15.1%], intense vs. normal counseling, respectively; P = .04).


An intense nutrition education program contributed to reducing protein intake in patients with stage 3 to 5 CKD over and above our standard dietary counseling. Nutritional education programs are effective in increasing patient adherence to protein intake recommendations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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