- Regulate protein intake depending on the stage of kidney disease
- Drink lots of water to keep kidney disease at bay
- Prefer consuming baked, boiled, broiled or grilled food for weight loss
Maintaining a healthy weight is imperative in people with kidney disease. Their diet depends on their present body weight and thus they must take care of the number of calories they consume daily. Note that calories - a unit of energy derived from the foods we eat- per se, are not bad. What can be bad, though, is excess or insufficient calories for people with CKD (chronic kidney disease) or other kidney ailments.
The overriding concern - ensuring the right quantity of calories to stay healthy by maintaining a healthy body weight and which provides enough energy for daily activities. Calories in our foods are derived from carbohydrates (sugars and starch), proteins and fat.
World Kidney Day: Weight loss tips for kidney health
If a person with CKD is overweight, s/he should limit calories. Excess weight makes one prone to various additional diseases while also worsening kidney health. There is evidence that being overweight and obese directly causes kidney damage through various chemical pathways. Shedding excess weight ensures healthy blood pressure. It also controls blood sugar levels, which further helps in delaying/preventing greater kidney damage. On the contrary, underweight people should increase calorie intake through healthy food sources.
If weight loss is needed, follow the universal mantra: "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper".
For healthy kidneys, you must be eating:
1. More fresh fruits and vegetables
2. Salads and low-fat foods
3. Regular meals/snacks
Dietary restrictions include:
1. Avoiding juices and colas
2. Not eating after 8:00 pm
3. Eating only when hungry
Prefer consuming baked, boiled, broiled or grilled food rather than fried. Increase the amount of daily physical activity and exercise regularly.
If weight gain is the necessity, one should daily:
1. Consume foods containing 'good' fats
2. Sauté food in coconut or olive oil
3. Eat two or three snacks, besides meals
4. Use full-cream milk instead of low-fat/toned
5. Have eggs along with the yolk
Irrespective of body weight and other factors, processed, canned and pickled foods must be avoided. Food containing excess sodium, phosphorus, potassium and preservatives must also be avoided. Dry fruits should also be avoided by people on a renal diet because of the concentrated amounts of potassium in them.
Furthermore, depending on the stage of kidney disease, protein intake must be monitored and regulated. Since damaged kidneys cannot properly clear protein wastes, its intake needs to be limited. But people with end-stage renal disease on dialysis - a treatment for filtering/cleaning the blood - require more protein.
Overall, people with CKD need to boost daily calorie intake because:
1. The renal diet restricts certain foods, leading to lower calorie intake
2. Kidney disease may have caused weight loss
3. The body requires extra calories for those on dialysis
4. People with kidney ailments may avoid meals on some days, triggering weight loss
Adhere to your dietitian's advice. But if the weight loss continues, extra calories can be derived from simple carbohydrates such as brown sugar (avoid white sugar), jellies, jams, honey, milk creamand syrups. Ghee and vegetable fats can provide safe extra calories too. Dairy products should only be eaten in moderation. Since they leave minimal waste products in the blood, such foods are not harmful. People suffering from high blood sugar or cholesterol levels should consult their dietician before eating these foods. This special diet need only be consumed till one regains proper weight.
Remember, proper awareness about dietary intake can play a big role in patients leading healthy, happy lives despite kidney ailments.
(Dr Krishna MohanSahu is Director and HOD - Nephrology and Kidney Transplant, Nayati Medicity, Mathura)
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