The team at Dr. Schär USA has created a new Healthy Kidney Diet to help individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD) adhere to dietary recommendations to delay the progression of the disease and prevent kidney failure.
The Healthy Kidney Diet was presented to nephrologists and dietitians on February 29, 2020 at the University of California Irvine (UCI) conference titled “Nutritional and Dietary Management of Kidney Disease: A Patient Care Approach” which is organized and chaired by Dr. Kam Kalantar-Zadeh, Professor of Medicine and Nephrology Chief at UCI School of Medicine. Dr. Schär USA makes Flavis kidney-friendly foods, which are uniquely designed to meet the needs of individuals with CKD.
This effort comes in response to an executive order (EO) signed by President Donald Trump in July 2019. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects approximately 37 million people in the United States alone. CKD places major physical, emotional, and financial burdens on patients, caregivers, and the entire healthcare system. Trump’s EO, the “Advancing American Kidney Health Initiative” aims to improve kidney care in three ways: (1) reducing the number of Americans developing end-stage renal disease (ESRD) by 25% by 2030 through preventative care/education, (2) improving access to more convenient treatments, such as home dialysis, and (3) making more kidneys available for transplant.
In a review published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2017, Drs. Kalantar-Zadeh and Fouque write, “Nutritional interventions with disease-specific dietary ranges that are patient-centered and cost-effective may help increase longevity and prolong the dialysis-free interval for millions of people worldwide”.
This project also aligns with the 2020 World Kidney Day campaign to highlight the importance of CKD prevention including slowing disease progression and raising awareness on prevention of kidney failure and dialysis need. There are several strategies for preventing the disease (primary prevention), delaying its progression during early stages (secondary prevention), and effectively managing it to prevent initiation of dialysis at later stages (tertiary prevention). One critical component of each prevention effort is medical nutrition therapy (MNT), as implemented by an experienced registered dietitian.
MNT for CKD includes reduced protein, sodium, and phosphorus intake, along with sufficient energy and high fiber intake. Benefits of this MNT include decreased risk of complications from diabetes and high blood pressure, reduced uremic toxins, and preserved kidney function over time. The low-protein aspect of the MNT has gained more attention in recent months, as the newly updated KDOQI guidelines will prioritize this strategy for delaying CKD progression. Plant-based sources of protein should make up 50% of total protein intake in this population, with the other 50% coming from high biological value sources.
The recommended MNT is highly complex, making it very challenging for most CKD patients to follow. Meal plans and recipes are useful for promoting adherence to diet recommendations. The goal of the Healthy Kidney Diet is to promote healthy habits among CKD patients, teach them basic culinary skills, allow them to enjoy food without feeling the burden of following a restrictive diet, and ultimately, reduce progression to ESRD. “We are pleased to collaborate with Dr. Schär’s colleagues to develop the Healthy Kidney Diet, which can help millions of persons with or at risk of CKD in order to prevent kidney failure and to avoid or delay dialysis initiation,” said Dr. Kalantar-Zadeh. Dr. Kalantar-Zadeh is nationally and internationally renowned in CKD patient care, including conservative and preservative CKD management using nutritional and dietary approaches that are feasible and patient-friendly.
1. Kalantar-Zadeh K and Fouque D. Nutritional Management of Chronic Kidney Disease (2017). The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 377,18:1765-1776.