Kidney Diet Tips

Diabetes and kidney disease prevention

Diabetes is a risk factor for kidney disease. In fact, over 50% of patients on dialysis have diabetes.  So if you have diabetes find out what can you do to prevent or delay kidney disease.

Results from a 4-1/2 year study of almost 1300 Chinese people with type 2 diabetes points to the American Diabetes Association targets to answer this question. (Archives of Internal Medicine, 2010:170:155-161). The study researchers reported that meeting the ADA target goals for hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C), blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides make a difference in keeping kidneys healthy. In fact, focusing on these targets can reduce risk of diabetic nephropathy by up to 35%.

American Diabetes Association Targets

  • HbA1C less than 7%*
  • Pre-meal glucose 90 to 130 mg/dL
  • After meal glucose no higher than 180 mg/dL
  • LDL cholesterol less than 100 mg/dL
  • HDL cholesterol above 50 mg/dL for women and 40 mg/dL for men*
  • Triglycerides less than 150 mg/dL
  • Systolic blood pressure below 130 mm Hg*

*These targets made a significant difference in reducing risk of kidney disease in the research study.

Lifestyle changes add up to the most effective actions you can take. These include:

  • A healthy diet with whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat meat, poultry, fish and low-fat or non-fat dairy products.
  • Balance your carbohydrate intake to help control blood sugar response to eating.
  • Eat fish high in omega 3 fatty acids more often and use healthy fats in food preparation, such as olive oil and canola oil. Avoid trans-fats as much as possible.
  • Start moving-exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day helps control glucose and blood pressure better.
  • Deal with stress; it’s a natural part of life and will always be there but you can change how you think and react to stressful events.
  • Be kind to yourself; take time to relax and acknowledge your efforts at taking care of yourself. Smile more often.
  • Engage your family for support and their involvement in lifestyle change toward a healthier family.

Remember the saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. In the case of diabetes and preventing or delaying kidney disease the ounce is worth more than it’s weight in gold!

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 20 years experience working with people with diabetes and kidney disease. She is co-author of the popular kidney cookbook "Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook". Sara is currently the Manager of Kidney Care Nutrition for DaVita. She analyzes recipes and creates content, resources and tools for the kidney community. In her spare time Sara loves to spend time with her young grandson, including fun times together in her kitchen.