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Can people on dialysis eat fruits?

Posted Jun 16 2011 9:58am
Most patients on dialysis are asked not to eat any fruit. All fruits, they say have high potassium. A high potassium is bad for the heart. "You can even die", they are told.

This is not entirely true!

Here is a table of the potassium content of some foods
Food ItemPotassium content*
Whole Wheat Flour315
Green Gram843
Buffalo's Milk90
Cow's Milk140
*mg of Potassium per 100 g of edible item
(Source: Nutritive Value of Indian Foods - National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad)

If you look at the table above, you can clearly see that some fruits have much less potassium than other foods that we commonly eat!

Then why is it  that we are asked not to eat fruits? I am not so sure!

I believe people on dialysis can have a little low potassium fruit everyday. And on the day of dialysis, some additional fruit just before dialysis or during the first half an hour of dialysis should not harm either.

I find that the craving for some food is probably worse than the effect of the food itself. When people are deprived of something, they start craving for that.

I remember hearing a dialysis patient saying he hasn't tasted a mango for the last four years! The technician told him he can have half a little mango in the first half an hour of dialysis. He was so excited! He is still alive and kicking.

Doctors and dietitians probably don't realize that craving something can lead to depression. So why deny someone the joy of a fruit when he or she can actually have it safely?

On dialysis, especially when you are getting good, regular dialysis (at least thrice weekly, four hours each time), then you can eat most things, provided they are in moderation.

So, feel free to talk to your doctor or dietitian about this and check whether you can enjoy a little fruit as well!
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