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PLoS One. 2015 Dec 28;10(12):e0145505. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145505. eCollection 2015.

Protein Diet Restriction Slows Chronic Kidney Disease Progression in Non-Diabetic and in Type 1 Diabetic Patients, but Not in Type 2 Diabetic Patients: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials Using Glomerular Filtration Rate as a Surrogate.

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Department of Nephrology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.
Department of Clinical Nutrition, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.



Studies, including various meta-analyses, on the effect of Protein Diet Restriction on Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) have reported conflicting results. In this paper, we have provided an update on the evidence available on this topic. We have investigated the reasons why the effect has been inconsistent across studies. We have also compared the effect on GFR in various subgroups including type 1 diabetics, type 2 diabetics and non-diabetics.


We searched for Randomized Controlled Trials on this intervention from MEDLINE, EMBASE, and other information sources. The PRISMA guidelines, as well as recommended meta-analysis practices were followed in the selection process, analysis and reporting of our findings. The effect estimate used was the change in mean GFR. Heterogeneity across the considered studies was explored using both subgroup analyses and meta-regression. Quality assessment was done using the Cochrane risk of bias tool and sensitivity analyses.


15 randomized controlled trials, including 1965 subjects, were analyzed. The pooled effect size, as assessed using random-effects model, for all the 15 studies was -0.95 ml/min/1.73m2/year (95% CI: -1.79, -0.11), with a significant p value of 0.03. The combined effect estimate for the non-diabetic and type 1 diabetic studies was -1.50 ml/min/1.73m2/year (95% CI: -2.73, -0.26) with p value of 0.02. The effect estimate for the type 2 diabetic group was -0.17 ml/min/1.73m2/year (95% CI: -1.88, 1.55) with p value of 0.85. There was significant heterogeneity across the included studies (I2 = 74%, p value for Q < 0.0001), explained by major variations in the percentage of type 2 diabetic subjects, the number of subjects and overall compliance level to diet prescribed.


Our findings suggest that protein diet restriction slows chronic renal disease progression in non-diabetic and in type 1 diabetic patients, but not in type 2 diabetic patients.

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