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Associations between microalbuminuria and animal foods, plant foods, and dietary patterns in the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis – Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2008

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By JA Nettleton, et al. • • June 30, 2008

[Note: Macroalbuminuria is excretion of high levels of albumin in the urine. The healthy kidney normally filters albumin out, so albuminuria is considered an indicator of poor kidney function – highly associated with cardiovascular disease.]

Background: The balance between the intake of animal and the intake of plant foods may influence renal vascular integrity as reflected by urinary albumin excretion.

Objective: We assessed cross-sectional associations between urinary albumin excretion and dietary patterns and intake of plant and animal foods.

Design: At baseline, diet (food-frequency questionnaire) and the urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR; spot urine collection) were measured in 5,042 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis who were aged 45-84 years and were without clinical cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or macroalbuminuria (sex-adjusted ACR >or= 250).

We derived dietary patterns by principal components analysis. We also summed food groups to characterize:

  • Plant food intake (fruit, fruit juice, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and refined grains),
  • Animal food intake (red meat, processed meat, poultry, fish, high-fat dairy, and low-fat dairy),
  • And nondairy animal food intake.
  • Results: After adjustment for multiple demographic and lifestyle confounders:

  • A dietary pattern characterized by high consumption of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods was associated with 20% lower ACR across quintiles (P for trend = 0.004).
  • Neither total animal nor total plant food intake was associated with ACR.
  • However, greater low-fat dairy consumption was associated with 13% lower ACR across quartiles (P for trend = 0.03).
  • Total nondairy animal food consumption was associated with 11% higher ACR across quintiles (P for trend = 0.03).
  • Conclusions:

  • A high intake of low-fat dairy foods and a dietary pattern rich in whole grains, fruit, and low-fat dairy foods were both associated with lower ACR.
  • In contrast, collectively, nondairy animal food intake was positively associated with ACR.
  • Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jun 2008;87:1825-1836. PMID: 18541574, by Nettleton JA, Steffen LM, Palmas W, Burke GL, Jacobs DR Jr. Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. [E-mail:]

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