To get a behind-the-scenes look into the recent study, Kidney News Online asked Dr. Shivam Joshi, a physician and faculty member at the New York University School of Medicine, to answer several questions about the findings and what they mean for the future.
1. How would you briefly describe the findings of this study?
“We wrote an article summarizing the available evidence over the past several decades showing that plant-based diets (vegetarian and vegan diets) provide adequate amounts of protein for patients with and without CKD. Concerns regarding protein deficiency in patients with CKD eating a varied diet of plant foods may not be evidence-based.”
2. What do you believe is the importance of the conclusions?
“I hope this paper allays concerns regarding protein deficiency in those eating plant-based diets. We should not encourage our patients to specifically eat more animal-based foods when these foods have been associated with increased risk of non-CKD health problems like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes and CKD-related issues like metabolic acidosis, hypertension, and hypertension.”
3. And for which groups does it matter? Kidney disease patients, the general public, physicians, all of the above?
“Truthfully, plant-based diets have been shown to be safe in all patients at all stages of life. These types of diets may reduce the risk of the development of CKD by reducing risk factors for CKD, like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. For those with CKD, the diet may be able to reduce complications of CKD and the pill burden associated with treating those complications.”
4. What effect do you think or hope your team’s proof of these findings will have on the future of treating patients?
“I hope these findings help nephrologists feel more comfortable in advocating for the use of plant-based foods in their patients. Patients with CKD often have comorbid conditions like hypertension, metabolic acidosis, and hyperphosphatemia, which animal foods can worsen. Plant-based foods are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins that are beneficial for patients in other ways, like their microbiome and cardiovascular risk.”
5. What effect do you see the findings having in your and your colleague’s future research?
“More research will likely be focused on the long-term benefits of plant-based diets. For example, can plant-based diets attenuate the progression of CKD in patients?”
If you have any further questions on this study or the broader topic, please contact Kidney News Online at firstname.lastname@example.org.