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Can you recommend a low potassium diet for a diabetic?

Q: My 77 years old mother is suffering from non-insulin dependent diabetes and was recently diagnosed with early stage renal failure. Her potassium level is 6.5 meq/L. Can you recommend a low potassium diet for a diabetic?

A:Potassium is found in most foods including dairy products, nuts (cashew, peanuts etc), legumes (peas, lentils, beans etc) and many fruits and vegetables. I would advise you to consult a nutritionist for your mother, who could advise on limiting a potassium rich diet and moderation in daily protein intake, all tailored to the nutritional needs of some one who has chronic kidney disease along with diabetes. However, below are some practical tips to cut down on the daily potassium intake: 1. Cook, rinse and drain the frozen fruits and vegetables in water before eating. Food articles rich in potassium like leafy green vegetables and potatoes should be peeled/cut, soaked in water for several hours and drained/rinsed before cooking. All these measures are intended to significantly reduce the potassium amount in these food articles. 2. Avoid salt substitutes since many of these contain potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride. 3. Always check the labels in canned/packaged foods for potassium content. Also avoid some of the artificial sweeteners since they may contain potassium.

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