February 20, 2009

Avoid Phosphates and Preserve Your Kidneys

I first became aware of the relationship between phosphate consumption and kidney failure a few years ago when I read the study that linked the consumption of brown cola drinks containing phosporic acid--both diet and regular--to the likelihood of developing end stage renal disease. (Diabetes Update: Coke Adds Death).

Now there is more evidence accumulating that phosphates present elsewhere in the food supply might also be posing a threat to kidney health.

Science Daily: Hidden Phosphorus Food Additives Dangerous To Kidney Disease Patients

The researchers cited in the article above point out that the problem of overconsuming phosphorus is not limited to people on dialysis.

This should be an issue of concern to anyone with diabetes because so many of us have already suffered some damage to our kidneys from the years of undiagnosed high blood sugar that usually precede a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. This early damage, which is usually revealed by a higher than normal result on the microalbumin urine test, can be reversed if we lower our blood sugars and keep them in the normal range.

But if we are at risk the last thing we need to be doing is further stressing our kidneys.

The Case Western Reserve University's Medical School, where this research on hidden phosphates was done, provides a web site that provides lists of the menu items sold at fast food chains that contain dangerous amounts of phosphates. You'll also find, at the bottom of the page links to relevant published peer-reviewed studies.

Fast Food, Phosphorus Containing Food Additives, and the Renal Diet

After reading this article, I realized that the baking powder I use to make low carb pancakes--the one many of us use because it does not contain aluminum compounds, contains phosphates.

Here's the solution I came up with to replace the baking powder: Combine 1 teaspoon lemon juice with half a teaspoon of baking soda. It worked fine.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip on baking powder. What amount of baking powder does this recipe replace?

Jenny said...

Roughly 3/4 tsp. I just did this on the fly in a case where exactness doesn't matter. You should look in a table of substitutions found in cookbooks or perhaps on line for acid/base combinations that will also work. Buttermilk is often used for the acid.

Wafeeqa said...

Hi, I'd like to use the baking powder tip in a cupcake recipe, do you think it will work? Is there a possibility that the cupcakes will have a lemon taste?

Jenny said...

I can't answer your question about the cupcakes. Try making a very small batch to test it out.