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Kidney Diet Tips

October 20, 2015

Eating Gluten-free on a Kidney Diet

By DaVita dietitian guest blogger Kristin MacDonald, MS, RD, LDN

AmarantoFollowing a kidney-friendly diet can be a challenge. When a patient already has other diet restrictions it can be even harder to find healthy and tasty foods. One type of diet restriction that some patients may have is the need to eat gluten-free.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and some other grains, such as barley and rye. Gluten is also found in malt.

What is a gluten-free diet?

Someone following a gluten-free diet excludes and avoids all potential sources of the protein gluten.

Who needs to eat gluten-free? Read more…

August 25, 2015

5 Tips to Lowering your Salt Intake

by guest blogger DaVita dietitian Susan Zogheib, MHS, RD, LDN

Eat less salt written on a heap of salt - antihypertensive campaign

Salt is made up of 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride and is very important to your life. You can’t live without it because salt serves many functions. It helps to maintain blood’s water content, balances the acids and bases in your blood, and helps to keep the nerves and muscles working smoothly.  But too much salt can be very dangerous. Read more…

November 19, 2014

Diabetes and Dietary Patterns

November is American Diabetes Month in recognition of almost 30 million Americans with diabetes and 86 million with prediabetes.  Over the years many diet combinations have been prescribed to help manage blood glucose and fats. The current focus, instead specific nutrients like carbohydrate or fat, is on dietary patterns. This is a more holistic and practical approach that people with diabetes and prediabetes can better understand and embrace.

Dietary patterns consider whole foods and whole meals, not single nutrients. Read more…

March 14, 2013

World Kidney Day is March 14

World Kidney Day is a time to recognize the extent of kidney disease throughout the world, learn about risk factors and screening for kidney disease and educate ourselves on kidney disease management. Kidney disease is the 8th leading cause of death and over 26 million Americans, or 1 in 10 people over age 20,  have  kidney disease. Many do not even know they are at risk. Some of the questions to ask yourself to measure your risk include:

  • Do I have high blood pressure?
  • Do I have diabetes or am I at risk for developing diabetes?
  • Is there a history of cardiovascular disease in my family or have I been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease?
  • Does anyone in my family have kidney disease?
  • Do I have a history of kidney damage (kidney infections, kidney stones, past kidney trauma or injury,etc.)
  • Am I in a minority group that is at higher risk for kidney disease? (African American, Asian American, Hispanic Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans)
  • Am I over the age of 55?
  • Do I already have a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease?

If you answered yes to the above questions you are at risk for kidney disease. Early screening and treatment can alert you so you can educate yourself and take action to preserve your kidneys.

Go to DaVita.com to take the risk quiz and learn more about kidney disease. For kidney  screenings, you can contact The Kidney TRUST™,  an organization aimed at increasing awareness of kidney disease through public education and testing programs.

Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com


October 18, 2012

Vegetarian Diets for Chronic Kidney Disease

 World Vegetarian Day (Oct 1), Vegetarian Awareness Month throughout October, and Meatless Mondays are among some of the activities drawing more attention to vegetarian eating.  What used to be a strange way of eating to the majority of Americans is now becoming popular and embraced by those seeking to improve health, save animals and protect the environment.

If you have chronic kidney disease (CKD) a vegetarian diet may help  protect your kidneys and delay progression to end stage kidney disease (ESRD).

Benefits of vegetarian diets include:

  • Lower protein intake, resulting in less kidney stress and decreased protein waste build-up 
  • Lower blood pressure, which reduces pressure in the kidneys
  • Decreased cholesterol, especially LDL, the cholesterol that contributes to artery narrowing, including the renal arteries
  • Better heart health with less risk of plaque build-up
  • Lower cancer risk related to less saturated fat and eating more grains, fruits and vegetables
  • Lower food costs (have you seen the price of steak or roast lately?)

If you decide to try a vegetarian eating plan but are unsure where to start, try adding meatless meals several times a week. Read articles such as The Vegetarian Diet and Chronic Kidney Disease written for DaVita.com by DaVita renal dietitian Chhaya Patel or Soy Foods: Vegetarian Options for a Kidney Diet. Check out resources such as Vegetarian Diets in Chronic Kidney Disease  from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Vegetaian Practice Group.

Find recipes online, purchase a vegetarian cookbook (for quick and easy recipes try Meatless Meals for Working People ), or subscribe to a vegetarian magazine such as my favorite, Vegetarian Times.  Many recipes can be modified for a kidney diet. There are a few vegetarian books specific for kidney disease such as The Vegetarian Diet for Kidney Disease  by Joan Brookhyser Hogan, RD.

Many of these resources provide information on protein, potassium, phosphorus and sodium–all concerns for a kidney diet. Even for people on dialysis it is possible to incorporate meatless meals or even a vegetarian diet with guidance from your renal dietitian.

In addition to saving kidney function,  you may find that a vegetarian diet also helps with your energy level– and that improves your quality of life!

Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com



July 13, 2012

Preventing diabetes and kidney disease: Link to canned meat

Canned meats always show up on the list of high sodium foods. Products such as Spam®, Treat®, Vienna Sausage® and Potted Meat® are processed canned meat products represented on this list. Yet, it can be tempting to use canned meat products because they are inexpensive, convenient and a familiar dish to many kitchen tables.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, investigating why the diabetes rate is so high in American Indians, reveals a link between processed canned meat products and the rate of diabetes. Nearly half of the Native American population has diabetes by the age of 55. Higher rates of diabetes mean higher rates of cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.

Researchers surveyed 2,000 Native Americans from Arizona, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota to determine potential reasons for high diabetes rates. The participants, average age 35 and without a diagnosis of diabetes, answered questions about diet, health and lifestyle factors. A five year follow-up revealed 243 of the participants had developed diabetes.

A link was discovered between intakes of processed meat. Spam® is included in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food assistance program, making it readily available to Native Americans on reservations. Among the 500 people in the original study group who ate the most canned processed meat, 85 developed diabetes. In contrast, among the 500 people who ate the least amount, 44 developed diabetes.

Amanda Fretts, the lead author and a researcher at the University of Washington School of Medicine and her colleagues found that this link did not show up when looking at unprocessed meat. Unlike the nearly double rate of diabetes with processed meat consumption, with unprocessed meat such as hamburger, cuts of fresh beef or pork people were equally likely to develop diabetes regardless of how much they ate.

Processed meat products range from 480 to 820 mg sodium per serving. In addition to sodium additives, some contain potassium chloride and sodium phosphate. Definitely not a kidney-friendly product!

Some of the reasons speculated for  such a higher diabetes risk include the very high sodium content of processed meat; or the fact that people who eat processed meat are heavier, with obesity leading to diabetes. Another school of thought is that chemicals in the food containers, such as Bisphenol-A, or BPA, a chemical found in plastics and the lining of food cans, may play a role. Finding the connections is not an easy task. More research and study is needed. The best advice to kidney patients and those at risk for kidney disease: leave processed meat products on the shelf.

February 2, 2012

Inflammation and Chronic Kidney Disease: The Dietary Fiber Connection

Recently I read an article on inflammation and fiber from Renal and Urology News that has a connection to the kidney diet and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Low dietary fiber intake is a chronic problem in most Westernized diets. Our love of refined grain products, juices instead of fresh fruit, processed and fast foods, sweets and salty snacks, limited vegetable intake and narrow use of whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds has resulted in a fiber intake around 10 to 14 grams of fiber a day. In comparison, the Institute of Medicine recommends 14 grams for each 1000 calories, which is around 25 grams for females, 38 grams for males and 19 to 25 grams for children each day. Read more…

July 25, 2011

DaVita Kidney Rock 5K Run/Walk: Join the FUN!

If you are on a kidney diet, you already know about kidney disease. What about your family and friends? Screening and early detection of kidney disease is important for everyone.

On August 6th DaVita is hosting  DaVita Kidney Rock, a 5K run/walk to raise kidney disease awareness and raise

money for the Bridge of Life Medical Missions. Read more…

October 13, 2010

New thin bagels and buns offer lower carbohydrate and sodium choice for people with kidney disease and diabetes


Bagel1  ©iStockphoto.com/lushmedia

New foods are constantly appearing in the market. My newest favorites are on the bread isle–thin bagels and thin buns. What a great idea–wish I had thought of it. Have you ever dug out the inside of a bun or bagel to reduce the number of carbs or calories consumed? Or eaten only half the bagel instead of the whole thing? No more–add the new thin buns to your grocery list. Read more…

August 18, 2010

Fresh Shell Egg Recall due to Salmonella Risk-Kidney Patients Beware

If you live in California, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin or Iowa you could be at risk for salmonella from fresh eggs. Read more…

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