As a chef and instructor at a culinary school Duane Sunwold knows a lot about food. But when he received a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in 2000, he discovered he still had a lot to learn.
During the first 2 years after his diagnosis, Sunwold gained 60 pounds because of the medications he was taking, and his creatinine level reached 4.9 mg/dL, just shy of the requirement for dialysis. He tried three different nephrologists. Finally, his current doctor recommended that he try a plant-based diet. It wasn’t easy, but within 2 weeks, he began to feel better. And that helped him stick with it.
“Today, I’m in complete remission and have been there for about 10 years,” said Sunwold, who is a department chair at the Inland Northwest Culinary Academy.
Sunwold said he is living proof that diet and lifestyle can play a role in helping to manage CKD. The plant-based diet is just one of several diet and lifestyle interventions that may help patients with CKD or diabetic kidney disease (DKD) and individuals at risk for the development of those conditions, according to experts. Increasing exercise is also highly recommended. But some other approaches to lifestyle change, such as a low-carbohydrate diet or a low-protein diet, are still hotly debated.
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