Effect of glycemic index and carbohydrate intake on kidney function in healthy adults

Stephen P. Juraschek, Alex R. Chang, Lawrence J. Appel, Cheryl A.M. Anderson, Deidra C. Crews, Letitia Thomas, Jeanne Charleston, Edgar R. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Replacing carbohydrate with protein acutely increases glomerular filtration rate (GFR) but is associated with faster, long-term kidney disease progression. The effects of carbohydrate type (i.e. glycemic index, GI) on kidney function are unknown. Methods: We conducted an ancillary study of a randomized, crossover feeding trial in overweight/obese adults without diabetes or kidney disease (N = 163). Participants were fed each of four healthy, DASH-like diets for 5 weeks, separated by 2-week washout periods. Weight was kept constant. The four diets were: high GI (GI ≥65) with high %carb (58 % kcal) (reference diet), low GI (≤45) with low %carb (40 % kcal), low GI with high %carb; and high GI with low %carb. Plasma was collected at baseline and after each feeding period. Study outcomes were cystatin C, β2-microglobulin (β2M), and estimated GFR based on cystatin C (eGFRcys). Results: Mean (SD) age was 52 (11) years; 52 % were women; 50 % were black. At baseline, mean (SD) cystatin C, β2M, and eGFRcys were 0.8 (0.1) mg/L, 1.9 (0.4) mg/L, and 104 (16) mL/min/1.73 m2. Compared to the high GI/high %carb diet, reducing GI, %carb, or both increased eGFRcys by 1.9 mL/min/1.73 m2 (95 % CI: 1.1, 2.7; P < 0.001), 3.0 mL/min/1.73 m2 (1.9, 4.0; P < 0.001), and 4.5 mL/min/1.73 m2 (3.5, 5.4; P < 0.001), respectively. Increases in eGFRcys from reducing GI were significantly associated with increases in eGFRcys from reducing %carb (P < 0.001). Results for cystatin C and β2M reflected eGFRcys. Conclusions: Reducing GI increased GFR. Reducing %carb by increasing calories from protein and fat, also increased GFR. Future studies on GI should examine the long-term effects of this increase in GFR on kidney injury markers and clinical outcomes. Trial registration: Clinical Trials.gov,

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number70
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBMC nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Carbohydrate
  • Clinical trial
  • Creatinine
  • Cystatin C
  • Diet
  • Estimated glomerular filtration rate
  • Glycemic index
  • β2-microglobulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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