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Taking the Kale out of Hyperkalemia: Plant Foods and Serum Potassium in Patients With Kidney Disease

Published:February 04, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1053/j.jrn.2022.01.013
      Traditionally, diets for kidney disease were low in potassium. This recommendation was based on outdated research and often wrong assumptions that do not reflect current evidence. In fact, studies conducted over the past decades show patients with CKD, including kidney failure, do not benefit from the restriction of plant foods relative to control. Generally, dietary potassium does not correlate with serum potassium, and we posit that this is due to the effects of fiber on colonic potassium absorption, the alkalinizing effect of fruits and vegetables on metabolic acidosis, and the bioavailability of dietary potassium in plant foods. Also, consumption of plant foods may provide pleiotropic benefits to patients with CKD. Emerging dietary recommendations for kidney health should be devoid of dietary potassium restrictions from plant foods so that patient-centered kidney recipes can be encouraged and promoted.

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