Diabetes is a health condition that affects a person’s blood sugar levels. One of the possible complications of diabetes is kidney disease. Diet can play an important role in managing both conditions. Limiting certain foods and adding others can help a person maintain good overall health.
A possible long-term complication of diabetes is diabetic nephropathy, a type of chronic kidney disease that occurs when high blood glucose levels damage kidney function. About
A person’s diet can affect both kidney disease and diabetes. While it may not be possible to reverse kidney damage, people can prevent or slow down kidney disease with lifestyle behaviors, such as diet changes. Likewise, a nutritious, balanced diet can help delay or prevent type 2 diabetes or control other types of diabetes.
In this article, we discuss the role of diet in managing kidney disease and diabetes.
A person with kidney disease and diabetes should strive to eat foods that help regulate their blood sugar levels and limit the amount of waste and fluid their kidneys process.
The role of the kidneys is to remove excess water and waste from the body by turning it into urine. The kidneys help to balance the levels of potassium, acids and salts in the body. Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys do not function fully and cannot perform these tasks as effectively as they normally do.
Dietary changes can make a person
Diabetes is a health condition in which a person is unable to produce enough insulin or respond to it properly. This hormone allows the body to use glucose from food as energy. When this process doesn’t take place, a person’s blood sugar levels can become too high, which is known as hyperglycemia. Conversely, a person may also experience low blood sugar levels, known as hypoglycemia.
When a person’s blood sugar is not in a healthy range, they may begin to feel unwell. If a person is regularly unable to keep their blood glucose within these limits, health complications can arise. Along with other management strategies, such as medications and regular exercise, following a
It may be advisable for people with kidney disease, diabetes, or both to limit certain foods. A dietitian can advise a person about which foods may be unsuitable for him.
For kidney health
People with kidney disease may benefit from limiting their salt intake. Excess sodium, which is found naturally in many foods and is a major component of table salt, can cause ankle swelling, puffiness, increased blood pressure, shortness of breath and fluid around the heart and lungs.
A person with kidney disease should also consider eating only moderate portions of protein. While this macronutrient is essential for building muscle and growing and repairing cells, the kidneys can struggle to get rid of all the waste from a high-protein diet. Excess protein waste can build up in the blood and cause weakness, nausea, loss of appetite and taste changes.
Doctors may also advise people with kidney disease to limit their consumption of potassium and phosphorus, as their kidneys may not be able to filter out excess amounts of these minerals.
High levels of phosphorus can cause the body to remove calcium from bones, making them weaker. This can also lead to dangerous calcium deposits that can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, or even death.
High potassium levels can cause a person to experience weakness, numbness, and tingling. In some cases, they can also cause an irregular heartbeat or heart attack.
Learn about foods people may want to limit for kidney health.
A diabetes eating plan is one that aims to help a person manage their blood sugar and body weight and prevent further health complications. Many factors, including cultural background, personal preferences, comorbidities, and socioeconomic conditions, can influence a person’s diet, so it is advisable to consult a dietitian.
A person with diabetes should be aware of consuming foods high in sugar, such as chocolate bars and sugary drinks, as these can cause spikes in blood sugar. It is best for a person to reserve these foods for when they need to correct a hypoglycemic episode.
It is important to note that the labels of some snacks with added sugar may list honey, sucrose, glucose or fructose as an ingredient, rather than sugar.
Likewise, a person may want to watch their carbohydrate intake and have a goal for the total amount they consume on a daily basis. Whenever possible, a person can replace some options with complex carbohydrates, which are less likely to cause blood glucose spikes. For example, someone can choose whole wheat bread instead of white bread and eat whole fruit instead of drinking fruit juice.
Because people with diabetes have an increased risk of high blood pressure, they may also benefit from:
Read more about nutrition and diabetes.
There is no one-size-fits-all eating plan for a person with diabetes and kidney disease. Much of what a person chooses to eat depends on the stage of their circumstances, their weight and their personal preferences.
However, many processed foods contain added ingredients that can worsen diabetes and kidney disease. Someone with these conditions may want to prepare and cook their own meals so that they are fully aware of the ingredients.
While a person may feel that diabetes and kidney disease are severely limiting their food choices, it is possible to incorporate a wide variety of food options into a balanced eating plan. In many cases, people can still enjoy similar meals and snacks, but with more nutritious alternatives or smaller portions.
According to the
- Fruit: berries, grapes, cherries, apples and plums
- Vegetables: cauliflower, onions, eggplant and turnips
- Protein: eggs, unsalted seafood and lean meats such as poultry and fish
- Carbohydrates: whole wheat bread, unsalted crackers and pasta
- Drinks: water, clear diet sodas and unsweetened tea
Since high blood pressure and heart disease are known risk factors for both kidney disease and diabetes, a doctor or dietitian may suggest elements of a Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. The DASH diet aims to lower blood pressure, and it can also lower cholesterol and aid in weight management.
People can take steps to maintain their kidney health and control their blood sugars. These steps:
Many people live with both diabetes and kidney disease. Following an eating plan that helps regulate blood sugar and minimize stress on the kidneys can help a person manage these conditions and reduce their risk of complications.
While it is important for these individuals to limit their intake of certain foods, this approach can sometimes be challenging. However, there are many foods available that can be part of a varied and nutritious eating plan to suit individual preferences. For additional help, people may consider consulting a dietitian.