According to a new study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, increasing the consumption of plant-based protein could significantly lower the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). 

The research examined the dietary habits of more than 117,000 participants as part of the UK Biobank study. Over nearly a decade, researchers tracked the participants’ plant-based protein intake and its potential impact on kidney health. The results show that individuals who consumed higher amounts of plant-based protein exhibited a notably reduced likelihood of developing chronic kidney disease, and had improved blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), triglyceride levels, and inflammatory markers.

The study, titled “Association of Plant Protein Intake With Risk of Incident CKD: A UK Biobank Study” was authored by Ga Young Heo, M.D. et al from Yonsei University in Korea, and published in July 2023. 

Seung Hyeok Han, M.D., one of the study’s co-authors, told to Health, “We have long suspected that plant-based proteins could hold key benefits for kidney health. Our research suggests that factors such as lower acid load, reduced saturated fat, higher fibre content, and antioxidant properties may contribute to this positive effect.”

Another study of more than 4,000 people published in 2019 under the title “ A Prospective Study of Dietary Meat Intake and Risk of Incident Chronic Kidney Disease,” found that consuming high amounts of processed and “red” meat substantially affects kidney function. Participants in the highest quartile of processed meat consumption increased their odds of developing CKD by 99%, while those in the highest total meat (red and processed) consumption quartile increased their CKD risk by 73%.

All these studies add to the growing body of evidence supporting the health advantages of following a plant-based diet, as this diet has been associated with improved cardiovascular health, weight management, type II diabetes, and cancer risk reduction.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.