The Healthy Kidney Diet was introduced to dietitians and nephrologists on February 29, 2020 at the University of California Irvine (UCI) conference “Nutritional and Dietary Management of Kidney Disease: A Patient Care Approach”. The meeting was organized by Dr. Kam Kalantar-Zadeh, professor of medicine and nephrology Chief at UCI. Dr. Schär USA makes Flavis kidney-friendly foods, which are designed to meet the requirements for individuals with CKD and are helpful tools for following the Healthy Kidney Diet.
In July 2019, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order titled the “Advancing American Kidney Health Initiative”. The goal of this Executive Order is to improve national kidney care in multiple ways: 1. Reducing the quantity of American citizens developing end-stage renal disease (ESRD) by 25% by 2030 via prevention and education 2. Increasing access to more convenient treatments, like home dialysis 3. Making more kidneys available for transplant
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects roughly 37 million individuals within the U.S. alone. CKD places major physical, emotional, and financial burden on patients, caregivers, and the health care system.
As Drs. Kalantar-Zadeh and Fouque explain in the New England Journal of Medicine (2017):
“Nutritional interventions with disease-specific dietary ranges that are patient-centered and cost-efficient might help increase longevity and prolong the dialysis-free interval for countless individuals worldwide”.
The timing of this new Healthy Kidney Diet also aligns with the 2020 World Kidney Day campaign, which focuses on the significance of international kidney awareness for CKD and the prevention of the disease. This year’s kidney disease day is focused on the different strategies of prevention: (1) Primary prevention before even getting the disease with a focus on kidney care and kidney health; (2) Secondary prevention in terms of delaying the progression of the disease in its early stages; and (3) Tertiary prevention, which involves managing the disease and avoiding the onset of dialysis.
Every prevention approach has different strategies, but one common theme is medical nutrition therapy (MNT) under the guidance of an experienced registered dietitian.
MNT in CKD involves reduced sodium, protein and phosphorus intake, in addition to adequate calories and fiber. Total protein intake should be split evenly between plant-based sources of protein and high-biological value sources. This medical nutrition therapy mitigates risk of uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes, while preserving kidney function over time.
“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, an internationally known expert in CKD patient care and preservative CKD management.
Diet recommendations for CKD can be very difficult to follow for many individuals with chronic kidney disease. That is why well thought out meal plans and recipes are useful tools. The main goals of the Healthy Kidney Diet are to support healthy habits among CKD patients, teach them basic cooking skills, and help them enjoy food, which can be hard while following a rather restrictive diet.