What’s old is new again!

Yesterday my brother emailed me the latest “fad diet” that’s been making the rounds in his office and asked me what I thought about it. Immediately, I rolled my eyes at what was sure to be another “too good to be true” diet. Most fad diets offer something revolutionary, new or secret but generally have very little science to back them up. Some diets offer cures or the ability to replace medications and can even be dangerous for people with health conditions.

This new “diet” my brother sent started out by suggesting you have a source of fat at breakfast to promote feeling full longer (I instantly imagined a big plate of greasy bacon). It went on to encourage smaller portions at supper, staying away from saturated fats (so no bacon) and processed meats and encouraged lots of water, fruits and vegetables throughout the day. All of a sudden it struck me: this newest “fad diet” is actually just a high fiber, healthy way to eat!

So I thought I’d spend a bit of time talking about fiber and chronic kidney disease. Fiber is not a very glamorous topic but it is something that we all need to include in our diets. Fiber is not technically a nutrient since it passes through the gastrointestinal tract without being absorbed but it’s still important for health. Fiber helps promote bowel regularity, keeps your gut healthy and helps you feel satisfied after a meal. Getting enough fiber is tricky for those with kidney disease who need a low potassium, low phosphorus kidney diet.

These are some easy things you can do every day:

  • Eat whole fruits more often – fruit juice contains little fiber.
  • Try to eat the recommended number of fruits and vegetables on your meal plan each day.
  • Eat skins and peels to increase fiber intake, where possible.
  • Try adding natural wheat bran (germ removed) to your food. Start with 1 tablespoon per day and gradually increase to 2-3 tablespoons per day.

Some of the best fiber foods for someone on a kidney diet include:

Carrots (boiled)
Corn Bran cereal
Green/Yellow Beans
Green peas
Popcorn (unsalted)

Ask your doctor or dietitian to suggest a fiber supplement if you still can’t get enough fiber in your diet. Try this high fiber dessert this fall:

Warm Baked Apples
4 tart apples
1/2c sugar or Splenda
4 tbsp butter or non-hydrogenated margarine
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Scoop out the core from top of the apple, leaving a well. Try not to cut all the way through. Stuff each apple with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon butter. Place in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until sugar begins to caramelize and apples are tender. Serve warm!

Each of these apples provides 3.2g of fibre and make a wonderful dessert or treat!

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