Renal diabetic diet

Diabetes in and of itself is a serious, and sometimes life-threatening, disease. Moreover, it is chronic, which means that it is a lifelong condition. Diabetes can get to the point when the organs start to not function properly; most often this happens to the kidneys first. Renal relates to the kidneys; the kidneys are the body’s filters, which make them responsible for getting rid of waste in the body. The kidneys also help regulate blood pressure and electrolyte balance. Poor functioning of the kidneys results in poor filtering and possibly poor blood pressure readings and electrolyte imbalance. Therefore, a special diet is required. It is difficult for an individual to come up with such a diet on their own if they haven’t really had any experience doing so, but a dietitian can help with this. Managing the diet with healthy nutrition and a healthy lifestyle is the key to managing diabetes and renal problems.

The Plan
Let’s get an overview of what the plan should look like. One main focus is on carbohydrates because as with all diabetics, carbohydrates are difficult for the body to break down. The body’s insulin receptors are either lacking in numbers or in sensitivity, and the body cannot break down the glucose from carbohydrates. It is important to eat roughly the same number of carbohydrates at every meal, to count all of the ones consumed, and to have all around routine eating habits. A registered dietitian should help you come up with a suitable meal plan containing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Portion Sizes and Routines
As a diabetic, it is important to understand the concept of serving sizes, which many people, even those without diabetes, don’t seem to get. What people perceive as one serving size is in fact two or three servings. The reason this matters is because if you are a diabetic and exceed a normal serving size of carbohydrates, your bloodstream will be overloaded with sugar, and the blood sugar will go up. While fats and proteins do not really have an effect on blood sugar, they still contain calories. In addition to this, it is important to eat at certain times every day, for both meals and snacks.

Limitations for Renal Diabetics
In addition to counting carbohydrates, diabetics with renal problems also have to limit the amount of sodium, phosphorous, and potassium consumed; the catch is that many foods containing carbohydrates contain these three minerals, so limiting them from the diet or eating them very rarely is are the only two options. Also, limiting protein and the amount of fluid consumed is essential. As mentioned above, the kidneys are the body’s filters; by filtering out the things the body doesn’t need, they maintain a healthy balance.

There are certain things, that if not filtered out, they can cause harm due to an excess amount in the body. Sodium, phosphorous, potassium, protein, and fluids are some of these things.

  • Sodium – muscle contractions, fluid balance, and blood pressure are all functions relating to sodium in the body. If the kidneys aren’t able to filter out excess sodium and it is left in the body, parts of the body begin to swell, such as the eyes, hands, and ankles.
  • Phosphorous – phosphorous works with calcium to maintain and build healthy bones, along with helping to maintain normal nerve and muscle function. Phosphorous and calcium levels are indirectly proportionate to each other; if phosphorous levels increase (which is what happens in renal diabetics), calcium levels decrease.
  • Potassium – potassium helps control the nerves and muscles. Increased potassium levels can cause serious damage in the body.
  • Protein – protein maintains muscle, and encourages tissue repair and replacement. When the body breaks down proteins, a substance called urea is formed; normally, urea would be filtered out, but when kidney function declines, as is the case with renal diabetics, it builds up in the bloodstream. This will make an individual feel sick and lousy.
  • Fluids – the kidneys help control the amount of fluid that leaves the body. Drinking too much throughout the day or eating foods that turn into liquid should not be consumed greedily because excess swelling on parts of the body can occur until the fluid can be removed.

Good Foods
The following is a list of good food choices for renal diabetics. Keep in mind that fruits and vegetables are also considered to be carbohydrates.

  • Carbohydrate – white bread; unsweetened dry cereals; cream of wheat; grits; noodles; pasta; rice; bagels; hamburger buns; and unsalted crackers.
  • Fruits – apples, apple juice, and applesauce; apricots; strawberries; raspberries; cranberries; blackberries; blueberries; cranberry juice; cherries; grapefruit; grapes; grape juice; mandarin oranges; pears; pineapple; plums; tangerines; and watermelon.
  • Vegetables – corn; peas; potatoes; asparagus; beets; broccoli; Brussels sprouts; carrots; cabbage; cauliflower; celery; cucumber; eggplant; green beans; lettuce; kale; leeks; mustard greens; okra; onions; red and green peppers; radishes; spinach; and squash.
  • Protein – lean cuts of meat; fish; poultry; eggs; egg substitutes; and cottage cheese.
  • Fat– tub margarine low in trans fat; mayonnaise; low fat sour cream; and low fat cream cheese.
  • Milk and dairy – skim or fat free milk; plain yogurt; and sugar-free pudding, ice cream, yogurt, or jello.
Last updated on Dec 28th, 2010 and filed under Healthy Eating. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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