Red Meat Raises Risk for Renal Disease

When have renal disease, there's a lot of dos and don'ts when it comes to your diet. And if you've been used to eating a certain way, making big changes to your diet can be hard. People with renal disease need to avoid or limit foods that contain sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and protein. And it's that last macronutrient on the list (protein), that deserves a little more attention, based on a recent study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Not all protein is bad for you, even if you have renal disease. In fact, its one of three essential macronutrients you need to survive (protein, carbohydrates, fats). But the food sources you get protein from can make all the difference.

In a large study, researchers followed 63,257 people for 15.5 years. They tracked their eating habits and looked for markers linked to end stage renal disease. Here's what they found. People who ate the most red meat on a regular basis were 40 percent more likely to develop end stage renal disease.

It's a red-flag warning you should pay attention to. Eating too much red meat raises your risk for renal disease. Avoid or limit red meat in your diet. But to get the protein you need, researchers found that alternatives (poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, or low-fat dairy products) did not raise the risk for renal disease.

And if you're fond of red meat, you don't have to give it up entirely. Just eat less of it. Researchers found that when people replaced a serving of red meat with a healthier protein option, it significantly reduced the risk of developing renal disease.

So if red meat's mainly off the menu, what can you eat when you have renal disease or want to reduce your risk? Try the Sweet and Sour Chicken with Zucchini & Onion Sauté, Fried Egg Patties with Sweet Potatoes and Asparagus, or Baked Tilapia, Brown Rice & Minted Carrots. And check out all the other healthy and tasty items on our Renal-Friendly menu.