Diet Programs

DASH Diet For Kidney Disease

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What science says about DASH Diet For Kidney Disease

In general, most healthcare experts believe the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet for kidney disease is a healthy and moderate eating plan, and they recommend it to people who have kidney disease.

The DASH diet prevents kidney disease by reducing hypertension. It can lower blood pressure by limiting salt intake and incorporating calcium, potassium, and magnesium-rich foods. This helps regulate the body’s sodium levels and relax the blood vessels. It also provides adequate quantities of fiber, which reduces blood pressure.

Studies show that the diet may protect against kidney disease by lowering the levels of uric acid in the blood and kidneys. This prevents uric acid from building up in the kidneys and scarring the kidney’s tissue, thus preventing it from filtering fluids and waste properly.

However, experts do not recommend the DASH diet to people with chronic kidney disease who are on dialysis. Patients on dialysis need to limit their intake of certain minerals such as potassium and calcium, and these minerals make up a large portion of the DASH diet.

Opinion in favor of DASH Diet to treat Kidney Disease

Proponents of the DASH diet for kidney disease believe that the DASH diet may benefit people with kidney disease. This is because the diet incorporates a moderate balance of all the healthy food groups, which preserves the body’s electrolytes and fluids. It also helps prevent kidney disease because it lowers blood pressure.

The DASH diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables that contain minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium that relax the blood vessels. It also reduces salt intake by encouraging the consumption of foods such as whole grains and low-fat dairy products, while restricting foods that contain high amounts of saturated fats, sugar, and salt.

Initially, researchers had concerns about the DASH diet’s recommended intake of potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. They were unsure if the diet was safe for people with kidney disease because they cannot filter out and excrete these minerals efficiently.

While these minerals are healthy and necessary in specific amounts, if they build up in the blood, they can cause health problems. For instance, in people with kidney disease, high levels of phosphorus in the blood can cause heart problems. Excess phosphorus can also lower the body’s overall calcium levels, which weakens the bones. High potassium levels in the body can cause heart problems as well.

However, multiple studies indicate that the DASH diet is safe and beneficial for people with kidney disease. The study, “DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet and Risk of Subsequent Kidney Disease,” showed that people who followed an eating plan that was different from the DASH diet were 16% more likely to develop kidney disease.

Nevertheless, experts do not recommend the DASH diet to people with chronic kidney disease who are on dialysis. Patients who are on dialysis need to limit their intake of phosphorus and potassium and maintain a balance of fluids and electrolytes. A dietician can provide dialysis patients with an eating plan that is best suited to their specific needs.  


Skeptical view on the benefit of DASH Diet for Kidney Disease

There's a general agreement among nutritionists and medical experts on the benefit of DASH diet to prevent and treat kidney disease, especially given that research has deemed it to be safe. However, some experts may call for more research to further validate the beneficial effects and mechanism of the DASH diet for kidney disease.

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