CAN I EAT GRAPEFRUIT ON A RENAL DIET?
A renal diet basically includes restriction of potassium in most cases. Potassium is an electrolyte that is essential in a lot of processes in our body in the cellular level. However, as the old adage goes—“too much of anything is not good,” and it applies to every food we eat including potassium. Grapefruit is a healthy fruit that contains high content of potassium. Thus, by just knowing that grapefruit is potassium-rich; one may react immediately that you cannot eat grapefruit on a renal diet. To answer such question, it is essential to learn how important this electrolyte restriction is in a renal diet first.
Why Is It Important to Restrict Potassium?-grapefruit on a renal diet
Electrolytes including potassium are part of what the kidneys filter during the daily process or when they execute their functions. A patient on dialysis also builds up waste products in the blood and thus, is required to go on renal diet that includes potassium-restriction.
If a patient has been diagnosed with renal or kidney disease, he or she obviously has lower kidney functions compared to a normal or average person with fully functional kidneys. When potassium is high in the diet, the poorly functional kidneys can suffer a great deal. This condition may put the diseased kidneys at risk.
Not only that, if the diseased kidneys are put under too much potassium stress, the load may be too high; thus, they can no longer filter potassium normally. This may lead to the accumulation of potassium in the body—a condition known as hyperkalemia (increased potassium in the blood). Too much potassium may endanger the skeletal and heart muscles. Build up of potassium in heart muscles may result in abnormal heart rhythms and death.
In this regard, it is only important that potassium be restricted on renal diet to as much as 2000 mg of potassium a day.
The Grapefruit, It’s Potassium Content and Renal Diet:
Most citrus fruits contain high amounts of potassium. Grapefruit is one in the list of potassium-rich fruits. Grapefruit juice contains about 400 mg of potassium per cup and that is relatively high compared to other fruits. If say, we can produce a cup of pure grapefruit for a medium-sized fruit, one can consume as much as 200 mg of potassium for a half grapefruit.
If a renal diet restricts one to consume only up to 2000 mg of potassium a day, half of grapefruit already will take up 10 percent of that restriction. We can take in potassium from many sorts of foods in minimal amounts; if these are added together, we can go beyond the restriction of 2000 mg of potassium a day.
So is it okay to consume grapefruit or not?—Grapefruit On A Renal Diet
Most physicians will advise patients with long-standing kidney disease to avoid potassium-rich foods and that includes grapefruit. You should, of course, follow the directions of your doctor if they speak to you about it directly and want you to omit it from your diet. If you are taking certain medications, you should avoid grapefruit at certain times.
Final Verdict on Grapefruit:grapefruit on a renal diet?
Patients on renal diet can enjoy foods that a normal person consume; however, on a very restricted level. When a patient is put on a renal diet, a lot of foods he or she normally eats will be limited, if not totally eliminated.
Renal diets should not be totally restricting in a sense that they are almost boring and tasteless. Grapefruit can still be consumed, but should be limited based on how much your doctor tells you.
A dietitian or nutritionist will be the one to assess the amounts of nutrients you need in a renal diet. If you crave grapefruit from time to time and you are on a renal diet, it will no longer be a strict elimination as long as other foods with high potassium are restricted for that day. In other words, balance is the key to making the meals healthy yet being able to eat what you want.
On the other hand, if you can adjust your cravings, by all means—avoidance is the perfect solution to safeguard optimal kidney health. Always put in mind the term “moderation.” Only in renal diet, it should be more highly managed. In this way, potassium accumulation is controlled and kidney longevity is improved.
If you want to know about more kidney diets that you could follow, please check out our meal plans at : Renal Diets Listing
Also, I have a great book published on Amazon on Potassium, see it here……
Also published on Medium.