Eating Cooked Meat Can Affect Kidney Test Results

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Eating cooked meat can raise a person’s serum creatinine level enough to affect the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) classification and potentially lead to misclassification of chronic kidney disease stage in people with diabetes, according to a new study published in the journal Diabetes Care.

Diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease, and accurately screening and staging chronic kidney disease is critical for guiding treatment decisions. Glomerular filtration rate is a test that determines how well the kidneys are working based, in part, on the level of creatinine (a by-product of muscle metabolism) in the blood.

To determine the effect of eating cooked meat on creatinine levels, researchers looked at 64 adults with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease, with sixteen people in each of the four chronic kidney disease stage groups. Sixteen people who had neither diabetes nor kidney disease were also evaluated.

Participants were given one of two meals, each of which consisted of roughly 44 grams of either beef or plant protein. Blood samples were taken before the meal and at 1, 2, and 4 hours after, as well as the following morning after a 12-hour fast.

The researchers found that people with diabetes and kidney disease showed a statistically significant increase in creatinine levels after the beef meal due to the presence of creatinine in the meat. This, the researchers note, could lead to chronic kidney disease being misstaged by impacting the results of the eGFR.

Requesting people to fast prior to having eGFR and serum creatinine tests is one solution, but “from a clinical perspective, there will be a risk of hypoglycemia in insulin-treated patients,” noted study author Sunil Nair, MRCP. “The recommendation could be modified to [simply] avoiding cooked meat prior to blood sampling to measure renal function.”

The researchers next plan to investigate the use of alternate markers of kidney function that are not known to be affected by conditions such as protein consumption.

For more information, read the article “Eating Cooked Meat Can Distort CKD Stage in Diabetes” or see the study’s abstract in the journal Diabetes Care. And to learn more about preventing and treating kidney disease, click here.

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