Characteristics of the Western diet that fueled the obesity epidemic may also impact kidney disease incidence and progression. Enlarging portion sizes over the past half century has been accompanied by increased intake of protein, sodium, and processed foods while consumption of fruits and vegetables has declined. Overall dietary patterns play a strong role for chronic disease risk including chronic kidney disease. While dietary patterns high in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in red meats, such as the Mediterranean diet, decrease the risk of chronic diseases, the Western diet, characterized by high intake of red meat, animal fat, sweets, and desserts and low intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products, increases risk of chronic diseases. In this article, we review the potential mechanisms whereby several key characteristics of the typical Western diet may impact kidney disease incidence and progression. We also discuss a public health policy initiative to improve dietary choices. Reducing protein intake to the recommended daily allowance of 0.8 g/kg/day and increasing intake of fruit and vegetables and fiber may mitigate kidney disease progression and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.