Have you been diagnosed with diabetes? Although diabetes affects almost every organ in the body, it quite commonly causes diabetic kidney disease. Around twenty percent of diabetics eventually go on to develop some degree of diabetic nephropathy or diabetic kidney disease. It’s unclear why this condition occurs, but it seems to be more common when blood sugars and blood pressure are poorly controlled. If you have early signs of nephropathy kidney disease, it’s critical to take measures to slow down its progression to help preserve kidney function. One of the most important ways you can do this is through diet. What’s the best diet for diabetic kidney disease?
The best diet for diabetic kidney disease: What studies show
In 2003 researchers looked at which diet is best for slowing down the changes associated with nephropathy kidney disease. Traditionally, low protein diets have been used for this purpose. It was thought that a diet high in protein put additional stress and strain on the already overburdened kidneys causing worsening of kidney function. The protein restricted diet has fallen out of favor as it’s been shown not to significantly improve kidney function. This current study compared a protein restricted diet with a fifty percent carbohydrate restricted diet, low in iron and rich in polyphenols to see which was better for diabetic kidneys.
The results? This randomized clinical trial involving 191 patients showed that a fifty percent carbohydrate restricted diet, low in iron and high in polyphenols was superior to the conventional low protein diet for preserving kidney function in diabetes and prolonging lifespan in people with nephropathy kidney disease. It seems that restricting carbohydrates and adding more polyphenols to the diet is more effective than cutting back on protein when it comes to treatment for diabetic kidney disease.
What does this diet for nephropathy kidney disease involve?
Although you’ll want to consult with a dietician to help design this type of diet for you, it helps to understand the basic principles. This diet involves cutting carbohydrate consumption by half and consuming more complex forms of carbs such as whole grains and vegetables as opposed to simple, processed carbs like white rice, potatoes, and sugar. To reduce iron intake, you would eliminate iron rich meat sources such as red meat, replacing them with chicken or fish which are lower in iron. To increase the polyphenol content of your diet, you would add more grapes, olive oil, and berries to your diet. The goal would be to keep carbohydrates at around 35% and protein at about 25% of your total daily intake for diabetic kidney disease. Sodium levels should also be kept low to avoid increase in blood pressure that could further damage the kidneys.
Is this approach for diabetic kidney disease really effective?
It appears that this type of diet has the best chance of slowly down the progression of nephropathy kidney disease, at least according to studies. These are all issues you may want to discuss with your doctor when you go for diabetes management.