Obesity and being overweight increase your risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes, two of the leading causes of kidney disease. Obesity can also cause kidney disease by requiring the kidneys to work hard to filter out the body's toxins and to meet the demands of the increased body mass index (BMI). To protect your kidneys, it's important to maintain a healthy weight.
There is more information than ever surrounding the topics of gaining and losing weight and in this sea of information, there are many diet "rules" that are misunderstood. Are any of these misconceptions standing in the way of you achieving your weight loss goals? The National Kidney Foundation breaks down some of the top misconceptions with 3 diet rules you can break.
Never eat at night or you will gain weight.
The bottom line is the TOTAL number of calories and the amount of physical activity you do are what influence your weight gain or loss, not the time of day you eat. Your metabolism does slow down at night, but your body continues to burn calories 24/7. If you do tend to snack late at night, avoid calorie dense junk foods such as chips, pizza and ice cream. Instead reach for healthier, lower calorie snacks like an apple with low fat cottage cheese or blueberries and low fat yogurt.
Fast food is off limits if you want to lose weight.
Fast food is typically very high in sodium and shouldn't be part of a regular healthy diet, but people often assume that fast food can never be healthy. Some fast food favorites aren't actually so bad after all. It's all about making smart choices. Many restaurants offer nutritional information on site, so seek it out and make informed decisions! Fast food salads can be a healthy choice, but often need some modifications: hold the cheese and choose "light" dressings and vinaigrettes over creamy options. Also, opt for grilled proteins instead of fried proteins, for example: grilled chicken on the salad as opposed to breaded/fried chicken. Snack wraps with grilled chicken can be a good choice. If you're craving red meat, choose single over double hamburger patties and watch the "extras" which can include bacon, mayonnaise, cheese and special sauces. Pickles, ketchup, lettuce, tomato and onions can add a lot of flavor without very many calories. Don't forget about the calories in drinks/sodas. Sip water instead of sugary beverages. Portion control is key, so avoid supersizing items on the menu. Some milkshakes contain as many calories and grams of fat as an entire meal, so if you're heading towards the dessert menu consider sharing with a friend or saving some for later.
Skip carbs to avoid packing on the pounds.
Not all carbs are created equal. There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Complex carbs as part of a healthy and balanced diet can actually help you lose weight. Complex carbs are also very important for energy and offer an array of nutrients and fiber.
Carbohydrates are an important part of a balanced diet, but you should choose them wisely. Limit the simple carbs and choose the whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Complex carbohydrates: These are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals and are important for your body's energy production. Examples include green vegetables, beans, lentils, peas, whole grain breads and cereals, whole grain rice and some starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Simple carbohydrates: Foods that contain simple carbs include table sugar, candy, cakes, soda and some packaged cereals.
Remember, eating too many calories from ANY dietary source – protein, carbs or fat – can cause weight gain. If you're looking to lose weight, check with a dietitian or doctor about a diet plan that's right for you before making any dietary changes. Also, if you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, the above suggestions may need further tweaking to fit your dietary needs. Ask your clinician if your health insurance will cover a consultation with a dietitian.