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Kidney Conundrum

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Study suggests fruit and veggie limit may be old news?

The kidneys play a key role in the ongoing process of removing waste and toxic substances from the blood– think of them as facilitating a 24/7 detox.  When they fail and can no longer do their job, dialysis is required to filter blood, removing fluids and minerals such as potassium, sodium and phosphorus.  Unfortunately, when this happens it’s often recommended to limit fruits and vegetables (sources of minerals such as potassium), despite their well-established health benefits.  With 9 in 10 Americans already not getting enough of this critical food group, can we afford to discourage anyone from eating them?  A study of more than 8,000 dialysis patients took a closer look at the relationship between death rates and servings of fruits and vegetables.  Their findings were published in Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 

Simply, they found that people on dialysis ate very few fruits and vegetables, many with less than two servings per week.  When that number was compared to [dialysis patients eating] 17 servings per week, they observed a 20% lower risk of death.  Though diet recommendations to limit nutrients that can build up in the blood are well-meaning, this research suggests further studies are needed that take a closer look at effects of fruits and vegetables in the diet, potentially opening the door for increased recommendations. 

** If you are or a loved one suffer from kidney failure AKA End Stage Renal Disease, discuss any and all diet changes with your physician. 

Published April 1, 2019

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