Most Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients do not know that a high-sugar diet boosts their odds of tooth decay (which can cause patients to be inactive on the Kidney Transplant Waiting List and lead to infections), Heart Disease (leading cause of death in the Chronic Kidney Disease Community), causing or worsening of Diabetes, and weight gain which can jeopardize the chances at a Kidney Transplant and reduce energy levels. While many in the Chronic Kidney Disease Community are not guzzling sodas or eating cake by the pound patients are, "likely eating sugar throughout the day without even realizing it," said Registered Dietitian Amari Thomsen to Time Magazine. The World Health Organisation set an upper limit of six (6) teaspoons of added sugar per day for adults, and most Chronic Kidney Disease patients are consuming much more than that.
Recommended Reading: What Can Cravings of Sugar and Salt Tell About the CKD Personality
"Sugar is added to foods that don’t even taste all that sweet, like bread, condiments, and sauces," reported Time Magazine. Sugar is also high in Ultra-Processed Foods, "like sweet or savory packaged food, chicken nuggets, reconstituted meat products, instant noodles and soups, and soft drinks," announced The Daily Mail.
This hidden sugar "adds up," suggested anti-sugar advocate, Dr. Aseem Malhotra (Cardiologist), "I strongly believe added sugar is a leading cause of death in the Western world." At this point, you are probably thinking, "Well, I get the risk, but what can I do about it?" Great question and the following list gives you several expert tips to how you can slash your sugar intake:
1. Have the right breakfast: For a start, avoid processed cereals in the morning that have a lot of sugar. Dr. Malhotra advised, "I stick to omelette, which contains fat and protein." According to Nephrology Physicians LLC. oatmeal is a fine choice for the Renal (Kidney) Diet. Adding blueberries or cranberries on top adds flavor and antioxidants like vitamin C which helps to keep the immune system in tip-top shape.
2. Read food labels: Diane Sanfilippo (Certified Nutrition Consultant and Author) wrote, "Even things that you don’t think are sweet, like tomato sauce, crackers, condiments, and salad dressings can be packed with sugar." Hence, read the food label. Ingredients are listed in order of how much exists in the product, so if sugar is near the top, that’s a red flag (aha moment).
3. Add spices: Consider substituting spices for sugar. Good options include coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom. These options will naturally sweeten your foods and reduce sugar cravings.
4. Purchase unsweetened foods: This is just as straightforward as it sounds. Simply buy foods labeled “no added sugar” or “unsweetened.” Often times your favorite foods have "no-sugar" alternatives.
5. Don’t go cold turkey: Don't try to cut all sugar out of your diet at once. Seldom is the Cold Turkey strategy effective. Instead, cut back slowly. If you normally put two packets of sugar in your coffee, for instance, try one for a week, then half, and finally add only a splash of milk. Instead of having the entire Sprite, just try to drink three-fourths (3/4) and then half (1/2) and so on.
6. Enjoy a treat from time-to-time: Dr. Malhotra admits that even as an anti-sugar advocate, "I may have to make an exception for the odd slice of chocolate cake." You can still indulge in an occasional sweet treat after you resolve to slash sugar. Time Magazine highlighted, "The idea is to avoid wasting your daily sugar quota on non-dessert foods like cereals, ketchup, and bread." To avoid overdoing it, consider setting parameters for your indulgences such as only having one slice of pie on Sunday nights after dinner.
Try your best to stick with it. If you can manage to cut your sugar intake while managing your stress, limiting infection, abiding by your diet, and conducting some sort of light exercise or activity (walking, sweeping, dancing, leg lifts, etc.) you may help to improve your longevity and quality of life. What are some ways that you try to limit your sugar intake? Share your response with the over 37,000 Facebook Fan Page Friends (click here). Like KidneyBuzz.com on Facebook and visit us daily (115,000 monthly individual viewers) for the latest breaking news and information which teaches those with Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Kidney Transplant, Diabetes, and High Blood Pressure how to better manage and improve their lives.