Eating too much red meat such as beef increases the risk of kidney failure, a new study warns.
But switching to chicken or fish from time to time significantly reduces this risk.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a long-term condition which is more prevalent in the elderly.
The kidneys do not work effectively and those at high risk have a family history of it, have high blood pressure or are diabetic.
Swapping a portion of red meat with chicken or fish cuts the risk of kidney failure by 62 per cent the study says
It is incurable and can lead to kidney failure or End-Stage Renal Disease requiring dialysis or a transplant.
Current guidelines recommend restricting dietary protein intake to help manage CKD and slow progression to kidney failure.
However, there is limited evidence that overall dietary protein restriction or limiting specific food sources of protein intake may slow kidney function decline in the general population.
The National University of Singapore study looked at the relationship between dietary intake of major sources of protein and kidney function.
It analysed data from 63,257 Chinese adults taking part in the Singapore Chinese Health Study
This is a population where 97 per cent of red meat intake consisted of pork.
Other food sources of protein included poultry, fish or shellfish, eggs, dairy products, soya, and legumes.
After an average follow-up of 15.5 years, the researchers found that red meat intake was strongly associated with an increased risk of kidney failure in a dose-dependent manner.
People consuming the highest amounts - the top quarter - of red meat had a 40 per cent increased risk of developing kidney failure compared with people consuming the lowest amounts - the lowest quarter.
No association was found with intakes of poultry, fish, eggs, or dairy products, while soya and legumes appeared to be slightly protective.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a long-term condition which is more prevalent in the elderly. The kidneys do not work effectively and those at high risk have a family history of it, have high blood pressure or are diabetic
Substituting one serving of red meat with other sources of protein reduced the risk of kidney failure by up to 62 per cent.
Dr Woon-Puay Koh said: 'We embarked on our study to see what advice should be given to CKD patients or to the general population worried about their kidney health regarding types or sources of protein intake
'Our findings suggest that these individuals can still maintain protein intake but consider switching to plant-based sources.
'However, if they still choose to eat meat, fish/shellfish and poultry are better alternatives to red meat.'
The findings was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.