Patients diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD) increased their risk of kidney failure when maintaining high acid diets, according to a new study.

Dietary acid load increases when you eat a lot of protein and few vegetables. More fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, neutralize acidity once processed by the body, reported Medscape. Studies have previously associated increased dietary acid with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and diminished bone density.

In the present study, researchers examined how, if at all, acid-inducing diets affected 1,486 patients with CKD enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; patients were followed for an average of 14.2 years. And the results showed patients with higher levels of dietary acid load three times more likely to develop kidney failure compared to patients following a low acid diet.

"Patients with chronic kidney disease may want to pay more attention to diet consumption of acid rich foods to reduce progression to kidney failure, in addition to employing recommended guidelines such as taking kidney-sparing medication and avoiding kidney toxins," Dr. Tanushree Banerjee, lead study author, said in a press release. "The high costs and suboptimal quality of life that dialysis treatments bring may be avoided by adopting a more healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables."

The acidity of foods is measured by their pH value, reported LIVESTRONG: Acidic foods score lower on the pH scale, while neutral and less acidic foods score higher on the scale. So on the low end of the pH scale you have foods like, popcorn, pasta, cheese, pork, beef, white bread, nuts, fruit juices, eggs, fish, cooked spinach, and most grains. Seven is considered neutral, which includes most tap and spring water. Then, on the high end of the scale you have foods like, apples, almonds, tomatoes, mushrooms, bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, mangoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, kale, and collard greens. The more you source your diet from the high end of the scale, the more alkaline (rather than acidic) your body will be.

An alkaline diet “floods our bodies with chlorophyll, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and oxygen,” said Kris Carr, author of the Crazy Sexy Diet and wellness expert for MindBodyGreen. “Healthy food creates healthy cells and healthy thoughts. Conversely, junk goes in and junk comes out.”

Source: Banerjee T. et al. High Dietary Acid Load Predicts ESRD among Adults with CKD. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 2015.