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Fast food could harm kidney patients

18 February 2009 5,917 views No Comment

People with advanced kidney disease should avoid fast and processed food that contains phosphorus additives.

High blood levels of phosphorus can lead to heart disease, bone disease, and even death among patients with advanced kidney disease, these patients must avoid certain meats, dairy products, whole grains, and nuts that are naturally high in phosphorus.

Phosphorus-containing additives are increasingly being added to processed and fast foods. These additives are used to enhance flavor and shelf life, particularly in meats, cheeses, baked goods, and beverages and it is very hard for consumers to know whether or not these additives are present in products.

The effect of such additives on serum phosphorus levels is unclear. To determine the effect of limiting the intake of phosphorus-containing food additives on serum phosphorus levels among patients with end-stage renal disease, researchers from America studied 279 kidney disease patients who had elevated blood phosphorus levels. Out of all, 145 patients were given lists of common phosphorus-containing additives to check against food items at grocery stores and fast food menu items with high phosphorus content and healthy alternatives. The remaining 134 control patients received standard care.

After three months, phosphorus levels declined two and a half times more in patients who were taught how to avoid phosphorus additives than in the control group.

The researchers recommend mandating phosphorus content on food labels, and creating incentives for marketing low-phosphorus products to improve the health of patients with kidney disease, and the general public as well.

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