Food Fads and Your Kidneys: 5 Tips to Separate True from False

There are so many “experts” and food fads out there (on TV, Internet), it’s hard to know what’s true and what’s false. Most are too good to be true, and have the potential to be harmful to your kidneys. Consider these tips if you’re trying to find trustworthy advice:

Is there a ‘quick fix’?

Watch out for products that promise fast results, quick fixes or a miracle cure. Some self-proclaimed ‘experts’ blow things out of proportion just to be catchy. They may also try to get at your emotions or pain points, such as wanting to lose weight or wanting to heal your kidneys. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true! Making changes to your health is a long-term commitment that involves eating well, exercising regularly and taking care of other aspects of your wellbeing.

Who is providing the information?

Before clicking on a link, ask: is it from a source that is recognized as a trusted health website or person? For example, for reliable kidney information, visit the National Kidney Foundation website: https://www.kidney.org/nutrition or the Manitoba Renal Program website: http://www.kidneyhealth.ca/wp/patients-and-caregivers/nutrition/

Seeking a regulated health professional, such as a Registered Dietitian, ensures that you receive the most up-to-date evidence-based information. Regulated health professionals must practice ethically and ensure that your safety is protected. They are also accountable to provincial regulatory bodies for the services they provide. Unregulated practitioners cannot guarantee these safeties.

Is the diet based on taking special pills, powders, cleanses, tinctures or herbs?

These are usually just gimmicks that cost you money. For most diet supplements, there’s no reliable scientific research to back up their claims. Speak to your doctor or dietitian to determine which foods, medications and/or supplements are best for you and your health. (For more information on Natural and Non-prescription Health Products, visit Health Canada’s website: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php)

Is the person being paid to recommend this product?

Find out if the practitioner recommending a product might be paid to promote its use. Are they truly supporting your health goals…or are they trying to reach their sales goals?

Where are the facts?

Not all sources are created equal. Sources such as personal websites, magazines, talk shows, even personal stories are not reliable or safe sources of information. What works for one person may not be safe for someone else. The best sources of information are health professionals who know your complete medical background, and can make recommendations for you based on the best and most recent research available. Speak to your Renal Health Team about any benefits or risks around any diet or product you want to try before starting.

Who are the experts, anyways?

When in doubt, turn to a trusted expert with credentials!  A Registered Dietitian for nutrition help, your kidney pharmacist for advice about medications and your kidney doctor for medical advice.

Bottom line: If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t true

Article by Manitoba Renal Program Dietitians

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