McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell … they all tempt us every day with their convenient locations, cheap prices, and tasty looks, but these foods are full of phosphates, which are shown to have adverse effects on people with kidney disease. A study done showed that people who don’t have the means to buy healthy food eat fast food more frequently, in turn worsening kidney disease.
Phosphorus is a mineral found naturally in foods like milk, cheese, beans and peanut butter. It is vital for the formation of bones and teeth, as well as energy production and the formation of cell membranes. Since the kidneys excrete excess phosphate, patients with Chronic Kidney Disease may develop increased blood levels of phosphate, or hyperphosphatemia. Manufacturers add phosphates to foods to give them a longer shelf-life and make them more appealing.
The study analyzed phosphate levels in the blood of patients participating in the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study (CRIC). They examined the risk factors for kidney disease progression and cardiovascular disease in patients with Chronic Kidney Disease.
"Many studies have demonstrated that an elevated level of phosphate in the blood is associated with adverse outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease and that blacks have higher phosphate levels than whites but we did not understand why levels are higher in blacks," Myles Wolf, MD, MMSc, senior author of the study was quoted as saying. "Our earlier work in the general population suggested that poverty was linked to a higher phosphate level, so we decided to delve deeper into that connection in the setting of chronic kidney disease."
There were 3,126 racially and ethnically diverse participants, and those with the lowest incomes and those who were unemployed had more phosphate in their blood than those who were of high economic status. There was no difference in phosphate levels among blacks and whites who were unemployed or of lower income. The researchers concluded that the known belief that blacks are more at risk for Chronic Kidney Disease is solely due to economic status, and not race.
"For low-income patients, access to healthy food choices is limited, so their diet tends to consist of processed and fast foods heavily enriched with highly-absorbable phosphorus additives," M. Gutierrez, MD, MMSc, lead author of the study was quoted as saying. "The amount of phosphorus additives in food is not always listed, so people unknowingly ingest more phosphorus than they probably should." People with kidney disease should do everything in their power to not constantly eat processed and fast foods and focus more on foods that are nutritionally valuable.
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