Is there a link between dairy food and chronic kidney disease?

by | Cardiovascular Health, Diet and Weightloss

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) refers to conditions of the kidney, lasting for at least three months, where a person has kidney damage and/or reduced kidney function.

CKD is common in people with with heart disease and type 2 diabetes and shares a number of risk factors with these conditions including overweight and obesity, low levels of physical activity, unhealthy diet and smoking.

Research has shown that routine consumption of dairy foods might reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, all of which have been linked to CKD. This has led researchers to hypothesise that there may be potential for consumption of dairy products to modify renal function, however minimal research exists in this area.

Researchers studied a group of older adults to assess whether there is an associated between consumption of dairy products and total calcium intake, and prevalence and 10-year incidence of CKD.

Participants were aged 49 years and over living in the New South Wales’ Blue Mountains region. Their dietary intake was assessed via a self-administered food frequency questionnaire. Sub categories of dairy products were calculated including milk, cheese and yoghurt and full/high fat versus low/reduced fat dairy products. Occurrence of CKD in participants was biochemically verified. Participants were invited to attend five and 10 year follow-up examinations.

The results showed that regular consumption of low/reduced fat dairy foods was associated with reduced prevalence and incidence of CKD in older adults. Total dietary calcium intake was inversely associated with the prevalence of CKD but was not associated with the 10-year incidence of CKD.


The results of this study suggest that regular intake of low/reduced fat dairy products could reduce risk of CKD in older adults.

CKD has the potential to cause long-term negative health outcomes so any achievable lifestyle modifications to reduce incidence of the disease have the potential to make a significant improvement. If you have some of the risk factors for CKD, it may be worth adding some low fat dairy products to your diet.