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Diet Choices May Help Diabetics Stave Off Kidney Disease

MONDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A healthy diet and moderate alcohol consumption may help people with type 2 diabetes reduce their risk of chronic kidney disease or slow its progression, a new study indicates.

Researchers looked at more than 6,200 diabetes patients, and found that nearly 32 percent of them developed chronic kidney disease and about 8 percent died during 5.5 years of follow-up.

Patients with the healthiest diets had a lower risk of kidney disease and of dying than those with the least healthy diets. Patients who ate more than three servings of fruit per week were less likely to develop chronic kidney disease than those who ate less fruit.

The study was published online Aug. 12 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Patients with the lowest intake of total and animal protein were more likely to develop kidney disease than those with the highest intake, the researchers also found. Moderate alcohol intake was associated with a lower risk of kidney disease and death. Sodium intake was not associated with kidney disease risk, according to a journal news release.

"A healthy diet and moderate intake of alcohol may decrease the incidence or progression of [chronic kidney disease] among individuals with type 2 diabetes. Sodium intake, within a wide range, and normal protein intake are not associated with [chronic kidney disease]," concluded Daniela Dunkler, of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues.

Could the new findings place an added burden on people who already have to be careful of their food choices?

"Patients with both type 2 diabetes and kidney disease may be frustrated by the numerous dietary restrictions that are recommended by their health care team," Dr. Holly Kramer, of Loyola University, and Dr. Alex Chang, of Johns Hopkins University, wrote in an accompanying commentary.

"Patients may even ask 'What can I eat?'" they added. "Perhaps the best dietary advice we can give to patients with type 2 diabetes and kidney disease is the same as the advice for those who want to avoid chronic kidney disease, and the same advice for preventing and treating hypertension, and the same dietary advice for everyone: Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains while minimizing saturated and total fat."

More information

The National Kidney Foundation has more about chronic kidney disease.

SOURCE: JAMA Internal Medicine, news release, Aug. 12, 2013

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