Those with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) must cut down on the amount of waste in their blood by following a kidney renal diet. Although each individual CKD patient's diet is unique, in general a renal diet is low in sodium, phosphorous, protein and stresses the importance of consuming high-quality protein while limiting fluids. Some kidney diets may also call for limited potassium and calcium. Due to the diversity of the CKD Community and specificity of individual diets, there is a lot of seemingly contradictory information and advice "floating around" about the best type of renal diet. That is why people with CKD should always work with their Dietitian to structure a diet that best suits them and meets their highly specific needs. Find below common things people with CKD do to enhance their diet that may actually reduce its effectiveness and further compromise their health. If you drop harmful habits and stick to your recommended diet then that will assist you in reaching your personal peak health.
For best results you should not think of your renal diet as a "diet" at all. You should prioritize lifestyle changes rather than simple short-term diet alteration for consistent management and success. Sherry Pagoto (Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Medical School) notes in her recent LiveScience editorial that "Adherence is key, and the way to destroy adherence is forcing foods on someone they do not like, do not know how to prepare, or can't afford." The faster you understand this, the better your chances are of making small, realistic and sustainable changes that you can carry on for the rest your life, as opposed to adopting dramatic, short-term alterations that can ultimately result in giving up and non-adherence.
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Do not arbitrarily avoid whole food groups. When placed on a diet, the Mayo Clinic said that many people seek control of their bodies by "eating foods that make them feel pure and healthy," avoiding things like artificial additives, pesticides, genetic modification, fat and sugar. Although this can be a good thing it becomes an issue if people with CKD allow themselves to become so obsessed that they eventually "isolate themselves and often become intolerant of other people's views about food and health (orthorexia)." They could be missing key vitamins and minerals. This can be easily fixed by following the recommendations of your Dietitian. If you feel like you should alter your diet and your current Dietitian is not taking your personal circumstances into account, seek a second opinion. However, KidneyBuzz.com does not recommend that you alter your diet in any way without consulting your healthcare team.
About 10 percent of the U.S. population or 31 million Americans skip breakfast, according to a 2011 survey. Yet a recent study from Tel Aviv University suggests that breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. People with CKD specifically should be diligent about eating their breakfast because people who regularly skipped breakfast had a 27% higher risk of having a heart attack when compared with those who ate a morning meal, poses a Harvard study. These findings suggest that not eating breakfast contributes to people being hungry later and eating larger meals which forces the body to process a larger amount of calories in a short period of time. Kidneybuzz.com recommends eating smaller amounts of food over a longer period of time to avoid spikes in sugar levels and developing clogged arteries.
Do not consistently juice your foods. Proponents of the juice cleanse claim that going on an all-liquid diet of pressed vegetables, fruits and a small amount of nut milk for days or even weeks will clear your body of toxins. This is not good for CKD patients as intaking large amounts of liquids as their main course meals may disrupt fluid restrictions. What's more, juicing fruits like tomatoes, oranges and carrots should be out of the question since they are high in potassium. The Mayo Clinic additionally warns that juicing can cause individuals, even those without fluid restrictions to trigger other health problems as well as create an unbalanced metabolism and irritability.
Recommended Reading: Too much potassium (hyperkalemia) is dangerous for CKD Patients' Heart Health
It is not recommended to eat an unbalanced diet and then cut back at the end of the month or right before your lab reports. KidneyBuzz.com encourages you to work with your Dietitian to structure a renal diet that is most effective for you. Also, closely monitor your lab results and suggest diet changes to your Dietitian promptly where you believe improvements should be made. If you stick closely to your recommended renal diet, then you will likely see improvements in your health, energy and quality of life.
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