Low Salt Diet Does NOT Mean A Low Sodium Diet For Chronic Kidney Disease And Dialysis Patients

As you well know Nephrologists and Dietitians encourage Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients to maintain a Low Sodium diet. However, most patients will be surprised to learn that this does not mean simply abiding by a Low Salt diet. While salt is sodium chloride, sodium also exists in other forms. Hence, while salt is sodium, sodium is NOT always salt. Thus, it is equally as important to monitor the salt in your diet as it is to limit hidden sources of sodium such as Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Brine.  

Recommended Reading: Learn How to Reduce Your Salt Intake by Adding Spices

Sodium is important because it helps to regulate the balance of fluids in the body. Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients, however, have reduced/lost their ability to balance sodium and water in their bodies. For this reason individuals with Chronic Kidney Disease are recommended to reduce their sodium intake to approximately 1,500 mg each day, according to DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. To place this in perspective: 1/4 teaspoon salt = 500 mg sodium, 1/2 teaspoon salt (1 tsp baking soda) = 1,000 mg sodium, 3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,500 mg sodium, and 1 teaspoon salt = 2,000 mg sodium.

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Overconsumption of sodium in the Renal Diet may lead to a host of harmful complications including Hypertension (high Blood Pressure), Cardiovascular (Heart) Disease, and Congestive Heart Failure. Also, swollen ankles, puffy eyes and difficulty breathing can be a side effect of increased sodium consumption because patients may need to hydrate leading to fluid-overload. 

Recommended Reading: Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Likely Consuming Considerable Amounts Of Salt Without Knowing

You may not even recognize all of the hidden sources of sodium in your favorite foods or even necessary medication such as some chewable antacid tablets and prescription drugs (ask your pharmacist), Aspirin (50 mg/tablet), celery flakes, parsley flakes,  laxatives, mouthwashes, toothpastes, Sauerkraut, canned juice, canned vegetables (with added salt), olives, cheese, milk, cold cuts, Frankfurters, and any salted crackers or chips.

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Here are some tips to improve your health outcomes by "shaking" the sodium:

1.) Hidden sodium can be found in foods that don’t even taste salty so look for foods labeled “low sodium (140 mg or less per serving),” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added (less than 5 mg per serving).” Items with 400 mg or more of sodium are considered high in sodium.

2.) Eat fresh home-cooked meals more often. Foods cooked from scratch are naturally lower in sodium than most instant, frozen and boxed mixes.

3.) Be creative and season your foods with spices, herbs, lemon, garlic, ginger, vinegar and pepper. 

4.) Remove the salt shaker from the table.

5.) Watch out for beverages because  they contain added sodium.

6.) Salt substitutes are sometimes made from potassium, so read the label. If you are on a low potassium diet, check with your doctor before using those salt substitutes.

Recommended Reading: Favorite Meal Choices That Are Good For CKD And Diabetics When Dinning At Restaurants Including Fast Food

If you notice any unusual swelling or find it harder to breathe, bring the issue(s) to the attention of your Nephrologist immediately. Also, for the most up-to-date Daily News & Information about how Chronic Kidney Disease patients can better manage their lives, visit KidneyBuzz.com every day.

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"Sodium, Salt, and Edema." (n.d.): n. pag. Http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/. Vanderbilt University.

"Low-Sodium Diet Guidelines." Http://my.clevelandclinic.org. Cleveland Clinic.

"Guidelines for a Low Sodium Diet." Http://www.ucsfhealth.org. UCSF Medical Center.

"Sodium and Chronic Kidney Disease." Http://www.davita.com/. - DaVita.

"Low Sodium Foods: Shopping List." Http://healthfinder.gov. Health Finder.

"Guide to Low-Sodium Foods for the Kidney Diet." Http://www.davita.com. - DaVita.