Kidney Disease and Packaged Foods

Nephrologists in India have concluded that one thing those with kidney disease should avoid is packaged foods. And needless to say, this precaution doesn’t just apply to India. Pre-packaged foods, full of preservatives and other chemicals, are prevalent all over the world. So this caution applies in many other countries as well.

Doctor K.C. Prakash, a senior consulting nephrologist for the Apollo Hospitals in India, reminds people of the bad effects from some of these extra chemicals in packaged food. He notes that one effect of eating a lot of this food is an increase of potassium in the body. Those suffering from chronic kidney disease or renal failure have less ability to eliminate potassium. Therefore, if they accumulate too much potassium, it could result in heart problems or outright heart failure.

Another problem with packaged food is that it tends to be much saltier than freshly cooked food. Extra salt is one thing that helps preserve these meals, after all, to extend their shelf life. Yet it’s a well-proven fact that too much salt can cause or worsen hypertension (high blood pressure), which also puts a strain on the kidneys.

There are other substances in these foods, such as phosphorus, that cause problems with other parts of the body. But for people in renal failure or even in the early stages of kidney disease, the salt and extra potassium alone should be enough to set off alarm bells. Checking labels to find the actual contents in packaged food can be a real eye-opener.

These cautions are helpful for both kidney patients and those with healthy kidneys. Eating fresh, healthy foods is almost always recommended for achieving or maintaining good health. This information about how packaged foods can affect people with kidney disease just provides one more reason.

(Further information: Times of India, December 29, 2010)

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