Survey reveals why nephrology professionals might not recommend plant-based diets

Sumary of Survey reveals why nephrology professionals might not recommend plant-based diets:

  • Nephrology professionals may not routinely recommend plant-based diets to patients with kidney disease due to concerns over patient acceptance and their ability to follow the diet plan, according to survey results..
  • The results, presented virtually at the National Kidney Foundation Spring Clinical Meetings, also highlighted a lack of patient knowledge regarding the benefits of such diets..
  • Melanie Betz, MS, RD, CSR, CSG, LDN, chronic kidney disease nutrition and education specialist with University of Chicago Medicine, told Healio Nephrology that she designed the survey to gain a better understanding of how frequently plant-based diets are adopted by this patient population, as well as to explore potential barriers that may limit recommendations..
  • “I found that [plant-based diets] were being discussed quite a bit in the literature, and in professional communities, but patients seemed to be unaware of them — and even afraid of them — in online CKD groups I help with,”.
  • For the study, Betz and colleagues administered questionnaires to 657 health care professionals, 58% of whom were registered dieticians and 53% of whom worked in dialysis, and 844 patients, 35% of whom had non-dialysis-dependent CKD and 35% of whom had a kidney transplant..
  • Despite 79% of health care professionals indicating plant-based diets can be an effective lifestyle modification for treating CKD, only 56% reported that they recommend the diets to their patients..
  • “My research showed that the most common reason [plant-based diets] are not recommended is low perceived patient acceptance and that they are not realistic for patients,”.
  • “I found this surprising because I had guessed that concerns over electrolyte abnormalities would be a much bigger barrier to recommendation.”.
  • Among patients, most reported that the eating preferences of their families, their personal preference for meat and meal planning were the primary challenges to following a plant-based diet..
  • “We need to meet patients where they are and encourage plant-based diets to the extent patients can or are willing to follow them,”…

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