Chronic kidney disease is the progressive loss of renal function over a period of time causing increase in blood serum creatinine levels. High creatinine levels are due to decreased capability of kidneys to excrete metabolic waste products because of reduced glomerular filtration rate[GFR]. The chronic kidney disease is identified in stages based on the glomerular filtration rate[GFR].
As kidney function declines, the GFR goes down.
- Stage 1- GFR above 90
- Stage 2- GFR 60-89
- Stage 3- GFR 30-59
- Stage 4- GFR 15-29
- Stage 5- GFR less than 15 indicates established renal failure and needs dialysis or renal transplant.
Who Should Follow a Kidney Disease Diet?
The Kidney Disease Diet is designed for people with early stage [stages 1-4] of chronic kidney disease. The goal of this kidney disease diet is to preserve kidney function as long as possible and to prevent malnutrition. With regular follow ups and proper diet, the chronic kidney disease can be controlled and the need for the dialysis can be delayed. The person or patient can have variety of foods, and a Registered Dietitian helps to develop an eating plan which can suit the patient’s needs.
It is very important for people who have chronic kidney disease to watch what they eat by following the kidney disease diet. By doing this carefully, it can affect how well medical treatment works. The pre-dialysis kidney disease diet needs proper planning, therefore consultation with a registered dietitian is recommended. Otherwise, purchasing a pre-done online meal plan created by a registered dietitian will be the best choice.
Generally, patients are advised to take limited high quality protein, carbohydrates from starches and fruits and an adequate amount of fat to provide enough calories without additional protein. And, patients are advised to limit salt and sodium intake by making much of their food from scratch or at home. The kidney disease diet for patients with chronic kidney disease includes food that is low in protein, sodium, potassium and phosphorous counts nutritionally.
What are the Different Nutritional Factors of the Kidney Disease Diet?
Protein- The protein intake in patients with chronic kidney disease is usually limited to 0.75 grams per kg body weight. High quality choices of protein include eggs, poultry, lamb, beef, pork and veal. If protein intake is less, there will be less waste for kidneys to filter and kidney function can be preserved. If the kidneys are overworked, more damage occurs quicker and leads to progression along the stages of damage.
Potassium- The normal intake of potassium is 3.5 to 5.0 mEq/L and anything higher than that must be avoided. About 90% of potassium consumed through diet is excreted by kidneys. High potassium levels in the blood can cause life threatening complications such as cardiac arrhythmias. Potassium rich foods should be restricted which include milk, yogurt, oranges, papaya, bananas, legumes, nuts, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach etc.
Sodium- Sodium is abundant in salt, higher the salt intake higher the risk of developing chronic kidney disease, hypertension and heart disease. Hence, in chronic kidney disease salt intake must be restricted. Patients should restrict consumption of canned food, smoked meat, pickle, processed cheese, packed chips and junk food. The recommended intake is less than 2400 mg of sodium per serving.
Phosphorus- The phosphorous consumption for normal people and patients with chronic kidney disease is 2.7 to 4.6 mg/dl and anything more than that must be reduced. If blood phosphorous levels are not maintained within normal limits, the patient can develop total renal failure, bone diseases and heart troubles. Main sources of phosphorous are beverages like cocoa, beer must be avoided.
What Should I Do Now?
The best thing to do is to determine what your nutritional needs are and follow them. Based on a kidney disease diet, your health can improve and not necessarily get progressively worse. We design healthy diet menus for a pre-dialysis kidney disease diet and can provide you with the needed plans that are important to balance.
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Also published on Medium.