Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with kidney disease, or have been living with it for a while, nutrition plays an important role. But if you’re like any of my clients, you have probably Googled something and may feel confused of overwhelmed with all of the information online. You probably have questions about diet and CKD.
Diet and CKD
Should I be avoiding animal protein?
What about avocados, potatoes, mangos or bananas?
Can I ever eat a pickle again?
These are just some of the questions that I get. The list could go on and on. But I hear you. It can be confusing out there.
And as a renal dietitian, I’ve worked with 100’s of those with chronic kidney disease and I’ve seen the positive effect nutrition can have on the lives of those with kidney disease. And it is impossible to deny that nutrition helps to delay disease progression, manage symptoms, and give you energy.
So here are the top 3 questions about chronic kidney disease and nutrition that I hear.
1. What Is The Best Protein
The debate of plant versus animal proteins for CKD has been very prominent in the media lately. While there are no concrete recommendations at this time, we do know that plant-based proteins have a number of health benefits with CKD like:
- Lower blood pressure
- Reducing cholesterol
- Decreased risk of diabetes and improved blood sugar control
- Preserving kidney function
But, does that mean you need to go completely plant-based to preserve your kidney function?
The answer is no.
It is all about moderation, portion size, and frequency of animal protein intake. And that is why a personalized approach to diet is important. Look for something sustainable with your eating, you want to make nutrition changes for lifelong success, not short term success. So ask yourself how often you really need to eat animal products, and work with a dietitian to make a personalized meal plan.
So for more information, check out my blog post on tips for plant-based diets with CKD here.
Are you still wondering about your diet and CKD? Keep reading.
2. Do I Need To Avoid Potassium?
Potassium is an important mineral. Too much or too little potassium is a concern with CKD.
We often read online that we need to avoid foods like avocado, potato, mango, or bananas when we read anything from Google. But, not everyone needs to restrict potassium. That is why working with a renal dietitian can help you manage your CKD.
You only need to restrict your potassium if your blood potassium is elevated (or if you healthcare profession told you to do so). Having your bloodwork checked can help you determine if you need a potassium restriction.
Portion size plays an important role with CKD. Foods with more than 200 mg potassium per 1/2 cup serving are considered high potassium foods. Portion size matters when looking at potassium. Take strawberries for example, we promote berries a lot on the CKD diet for being low in potassium, which they are, but portion size matters if we are on a potassium restriction 1 cup of strawberries has 233 mg. Watch out for portion distortion!
3. Can I Still Eat Pickles?
This question always gets me.
My family calls me the pickle monster.
So telling those who love pickled foods, which may be an important part of your culture as well, that you can no longer eat them is something I am not about. What is more important with CKD is a low sodium diet, we aim for 2300 mg or less per day, not a no sodium diet. This means that by reading food labels for lower sodium products, we can still include pickled foods into our diet. But also, many of companies now have sodium reduced pickled items for an extra bonus!
Does todays article speak to you?
If you’re looking to feel empowered and supported with your nutrition needs, and these three questions about nutrition are one’s that you are also asking, working with a dietitian can help you gain confidence and understand your kidney-friendly diet.
Want to work together? Connect with Emily here.
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