The Myth Of Avoiding High Potassium Fruits And Vegetables In A CKD And Dialysis Patient's Diet May Be Harmful



As you know in order to avoid High Potassium Levels, many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients are encouraged to limit high potassium fruits and vegetables such as Avocado, Artichoke, Banana, Cantaloupe, Mango, and more. Not only is it difficult for many patients to limit their favorite fruits and vegetables; it also causes patients to feel frustrated and depressed because they are unable to enjoy their favorite foods. Well, Researchers at New York University (School of Medicine) are questioning the practice of deterring patients from eating fruits and vegetables. "The practice of advising patients to eliminate so many plant foods from the diet may be harmful," reported Renal and Urology News.

The "evidence linking high dietary potassium intake to Hyperkalemia (High Blood Potassium) in Hemodialysis patients is virtually non-existent,” suggested the Journal of Renal Nutrition study. Lead Researcher, Dr. David E. St-Jules, expanded on the conclusion, "“In addition to impairing nutrition status and quality of life, advising Hemodialysis patients to limit or avoid many plant-based  foods, especially fruits and vegetables, may contribute to adverse metabolic status (relating to metabolism), such as oxidative stress (damaging cells), inflammation (swelling in body), metabolic acidosis (body produces excessive quantities of acid), dyslipidemias (abnormally elevated cholesterol or fats in the blood), and conditions that negatively impact Hemodialysis patient health, such as constipation and Hypertension (High Blood Pressure).”

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Even more interesting, the New York University Researchers cited previous studies which found that potassium excretion in stool was three (3) times higher in Hemodialysis patients compared with others. The potassium found in stool samples were "directly proportional to dietary potassium intake and stool weight.” Hence, bowel potassium excretion is considerably higher in patients with Chronic Kidney Disease, especially in those who ingest plant-based foods, likely because the dietary fiber found in such foods increases fecal (stool) bulk.

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The Researchers did, however, mention the importance for Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients to maintain an overall low-potassium diet (2,000–3,000 mg/day). Patients may consider monitoring how much potassium they take in during the day (from both high potassium or low potassium foods) to remain within their daily dietary restrictions. Hence, do not go "hog-wild" and eat all high potassium foods. Instead, work with your Dietitian and use your discretion to consider mixing and enjoying a variety of fruits and vegetables that fall within your daily potassium limits. 

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It would be helpful to know the potassium content in each fruit or vegetable you eat. While there are many Potassium Calculators online and in your smartphone App Store, be sure to note that calculations may be a bit off. Thus, always round up so you do not over indulge the delicious options. Complete the below form to access a free, nifty Potassium Calculator which was sourced online.

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Recommended Reading: The Magic And Myths Of Chronic Kidney Disease Patients And Dairy Products has always been an advocate for empowering patients. By knowing your recommended daily intake of potassium, working with your Dietitian, and monitoring your potassium intake, you are able to be placed in the driver's seat to help improve your overall health outcomes. 

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