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Annu Rev Nutr. 1997;17:435-55.

Role of nutrition in prevention of the progression of renal disease.

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Renal Division, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


In rats with renal disease, low-protein diets slow the decline in renal function, histologic damage, and mortality. Low-protein (and phosphorus) diets can also ameliorate uremic symptoms, secondary hyperparathyroidism, and metabolic acidosis in patients with chronic renal failure. Albeit controversial, evidence also suggests that dietary protein restriction can slow the rate of progression of renal failure and the time until end-stage renal failure. These dietary regimens appear to be safe and patients with chronic renal failure are able to activate normal compensatory mechanisms designed to conserve lean body mass when dietary protein intake is restricted. When low-protein diets are prescribed, patients should be closely monitored to assess dietary compliance and to ensure nutritional adequacy. Evidence that the spontaneous intake of dietary protein decreases in patients with progressive chronic renal failure who consume unrestricted diets should not be construed as an argument against the use of low-protein diets. Rather, it is a persuasive argument to restrict dietary protein intake in order to minimize complications of renal failure while preserving nutritional status.

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