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PLoS One. 2018 Nov 7;13(11):e0206134. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0206134. eCollection 2018.

Effect of diet protein restriction on progression of chronic kidney disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Renal Division, Shanxi Medical University Second Hospital, Taiyuan, Shanxi, China.



Dietary protein restriction has long been thought to play an important role in the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD); however, the effect of dietary protein on the rate of decline in kidney function remains controversial.


We undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to assess the influence of protein restriction on chronic kidney disease.


Ovid MEDLINE (from 1946 to March 5, 2016), EMBASE (from 1966 to March 5, 2016), and the Cochrane Library (Inception to March 5, 2016) were searched to identify RCTs comparing different levels of protein intake for at least 24 weeks in adult patients with CKD. The outcomes included kidney failure events, the rate of change in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) per year, all cause death events, and changes in proteinuria, serum phosphorus concentration, serum albumin, and body mass index (BMI).


Nineteen trials with 2492 subjects were analyzed. A low protein diet reduced the risk of kidney failure (odds ratio (OR) = 0.59, 95% CI: 0.41 to 0.85) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) (OR = 0.64, 95% CI: 0.43 to 0.96), but did not produce a clear beneficial effect for all cause death events (OR = 1.17, 95% CI: 0.67 to 2.06). The change in the mean difference (MD) for the rate of decline in the eGFR was significant (MD: -1.85, P = 0.001), and for proteinuria (MD: -0.44, P = 0.02). A low protein diet also reduced the serum phosphorus concentration (MD: -0.37, 95% CI: -0.5 to -0.24) and BMI (MD: -0.61, 95% CI: -1.05 to -0.17). However the change in albumin presented no significant difference between two groups (MD: 0.23, 95% CI: -0.51 to 0.97).


Based on the findings of our meta-analysis, protein-restricted diet may reduce the rate of decline in renal function and the risk of kidney failure for CKD populations, but did not produce a clear beneficial effect for all cause death events. Besides However, the optimal level of protein intake in different participants is left unanswered, and the nutritional status should be regarded with caution.

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