The Western-style diet: a major risk factor for impaired kidney function and chronic kidney disease

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2011 Nov;301(5):F919-31. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00068.2011. Epub 2011 Aug 31.


The Western-style diet is characterized by its highly processed and refined foods and high contents of sugars, salt, and fat and protein from red meat. It has been recognized as the major contributor to metabolic disturbances and the development of obesity-related diseases including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Also, the Western-style diet has been associated with an increased incidence of chronic kidney disease (CKD). A combination of dietary factors contributes to the impairment of renal vascularization, steatosis and inflammation, hypertension, and impaired renal hormonal regulation. This review addresses recent progress in the understanding of the association of the Western-style diet with the induction of dyslipidemia, oxidative stress, inflammation, and disturbances of corticosteroid regulation in the development of CKD. Future research needs to distinguish between acute and chronic effects of diets with high contents of sugars, salt, and fat and protein from red meat, and to uncover the contribution of each component. Improved therapeutic interventions should consider potentially altered drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics and be combined with lifestyle changes. A clinical assessment of the long-term risks of whole-body disturbances is strongly recommended to reduce metabolic complications and cardiovascular risk in kidney donors and patients with CKD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / metabolism
  • Carbohydrates
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Dietary Proteins / adverse effects
  • Fructose / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hyperuricemia / chemically induced
  • Kidney Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology*
  • Metabolic Diseases
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Sodium, Dietary / adverse effects


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary
  • Sodium, Dietary
  • Fructose