The balance between the intake of animal and the intake of plant foods may influence renal vascular integrity as reflected by urinary albumin excretion.
We assessed cross-sectional associations between urinary albumin excretion and dietary patterns and intake of plant and animal foods.
At baseline, diet (food-frequency questionnaire) and the urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR; spot urine collection) were measured in 5042 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis who were aged 45-84 y 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.
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).
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.