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Abstract: TH-PO915

Veteran Diet Quality and Associations of Unprocessed Plant Nutrients on Vascular Function

Session Information

Category: Health Maintenance, Nutrition, and Metabolism

  • 1500 Health Maintenance, Nutrition, and Metabolism


  • Perez, Luis M., VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System, Aurora, Colorado, United States
  • Struemph, Taylor, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, United States
  • Farmer-Bailey, Heather, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, United States
  • Jovanovich, Anna, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, United States

Over 500,000 Veterans have chronic kidney disease (CKD) with higher incidence (16-36%) than the general population. Most CKD is caused by diabetes and associated with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Dietary changes may prevent, delay, or manage hypertension, diabetes, and CKD. Poor dietary quality and low adherence to recommended diets is common in CKD. The purpose of this study was to describe diet quality and cross-sectional associations of plant-based diet components with vascular function measures in Veterans with CKD.


We conducted a secondary analysis of baseline data from the Phosphate Lowering in CKD Trial (NCT02209636) that recruited 66 Veterans with CKD stage 3b-4. Primary study outcomes were vascular function measures, carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity (PWV) and flow mediated dilation (FMD). We calculated plant-based diet components from 3-day dietary records by linking the Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies with food composition data provided by the USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. We classified food and nutrient degree of processing by the NOVA diet classification system. Analysis included basic descriptive statistics and paired T-tests to compare nutrient intake above/below the median with PWV and FMD.


Mean±SD ultra-processed calories was 64.3±15.1% of total intake and animal protein was 52.3±19.6% of total protein intake. Mean ± SD combined processed/ultra-processed nutrients intake was: 72.4±17.8% of total sodium (2,358g), 56.2±14.9% of total potassium (1,191g), 64.1±16.5% of total phosphorus (743g). No participants were Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet adherent (1.3±0.9 points of 9) and the Healthy Eating Index score was 48.9±11.7 (out of 100).
Individuals with unprocessed plant protein above the median intake had lower PWV (996.5±237.1 m/s) than those below the median intake (1223.5± 09.1 m/s, p=0.04). Those with unprocessed plant phosphorus above the median intake also had lower PWV (979.2±233.8 m/s) than those below the median intake (1241.8±399.4 m/s, p=0.02).


Veterans in the Phosphate Lowering in CKD Trial had low dietary quality, however, those who consumed more unprocessed plant protein and phosphorus had better vascular function at baseline. These results indicate opportunities for nutritional intervention and future research.


  • Veterans Affairs Support