Renal Diet And Chocolate – Several times a year, events pop up that involve candy. Chocolate and other candies can be part of a kidney diet, but there are factors to consider. Some candies and chocolates are high in potassium and/or phosphorus, while others are low. In this article, we cover the best and worst candy and chocolate options on the kidney diet.
In short, yes, candy is good for the kidneys. Unlike fast food, it won’t improve your kidney health. That being said, a few pieces of candy won’t completely derail your kidney health goals.
Renal Diet And Chocolate
Candy can bring more happiness in your life. Feeling “I can’t eat anything here” can be very frustrating and distressing when looking for kidney-friendly foods. By allowing these areas where it doesn’t make much of a difference, it can be very beneficial.
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The American Heart Association recommends a limit of 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. This equates to 100 calories for women and 150 calories for men.
To see how much of a problem, check the added sugar and total calories for one serving of the candy you’re looking for. The nutrition label shows added sugar in grams in the carbohydrate section. For reference, there are 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon.
For example, let’s say you find a candy that has 8 grams of added sugar per serving. Divide that 8 grams of sugar by 4 grams per teaspoon and you get 2 tablespoons of sugar.
There are a lot of treats that are acceptable when it comes to kidney health! Here are some types of candies that I usually recommend:
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These candies are considered good for the kidneys as they are low in potassium and phosphorus. While these are good choices for kidney diets, it’s still important to be careful about added sugars.
Read the nutrition label to check for added phosphorus or potassium because added preservatives are more absorbable.
There are some types of candy that are not as good for the kidneys as other candies. A group of candies that are not good for the kidneys include candies with nuts, peanut butter and chocolate.
They are high in sodium, phosphorus and potassium. But keep in mind that there are still great nut and nut butters that fit the kidney diet without all the added sugars that come with these types of candies.
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Another type of candy to avoid is black licorice. Black licorice has been well researched and linked to health effects for people with or without kidney disease.
Glycyrrhizin, one of the components of black licorice, can cause acute and chronic potassium depletion. It can lead to irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.
While sugar-free is a great option for some of the kidney-friendly candies mentioned earlier, that doesn’t mean your favorite desserts are a “free-for-all” with sugar-free versions.
Sugar-free candies may be lower in calories and (obviously) sugar, but the sugar substitute comes from sugar alcohols. And too much sugar alcohol can cause side effects, including bloating, gas and abdominal discomfort.
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Another caveat is that sugar-free candies may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes even more. This may be related to excess calorie intake and weight gain from eating too much candy that is thought to be harmless.
Choosing sugar-free candies instead of regular candies can help reduce your calorie and sugar intake, so it’s an option for people with or without diabetes. However, like all candies, sugar-free candies should still be consumed in moderation.
We can’t talk about kidney-friendly candy and not talk about chocolate! While chocolate itself is not “bad” for the kidneys, there are certain nutrients in chocolate that can be problematic for those with kidney disease.
These three types are defined by the amount of chocolate liquor (cocoa butter and solids) and milk in the recipe.
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Dark chocolate should contain at least 50% cocoa solids. On the other hand, milk chocolate contains only 10-50% cocoa solids. To qualify for chocolate benefits, the chocolate percentage must be at least 70%.
Most candies usually do not contain this amount of cocoa unless they have a special label such as “75% cocoa”. If you don’t see it prominently, it probably doesn’t have any of the benefits of cocoa.
All types of chocolate contain some potassium. Different varieties contain different amounts of potassium.
When comparing 1 ounce of white, milk, and dark chocolate, dark chocolate contains more potassium. One ounce of dark chocolate contains about 158 milligrams of potassium.
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However, a piece of dark chocolate can be considered a high potassium candy. A 3.5-ounce bar of dark chocolate (with 70 to 85 percent cocoa) contains approximately 722 milligrams of potassium.
White chocolate is considered a low potassium chocolate. It contains only 81 milligrams of potassium per ounce. One piece of white chocolate contains about 284 milligrams of potassium, making it a potassium-rich dessert.
Keep your chocolate in the low potassium range, one serving per ounce serving.
Chocolate is a source of organic phosphorus. Some types of chocolate candies may also contain inorganic phosphorus, which is highly absorbed into the blood.
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A 1-ounce serving of dark chocolate contains 87 milligrams of phosphorus. A 3.5-ounce serving of this type of chocolate contains 311 milligrams of phosphorus.
One ounce of white chocolate contains 50 mg of phosphorus. A 3.5-ounce bar contains about 175 mg of phosphorus.
For people with kidney problems who have trouble regulating their phosphorus levels, chocolate may be one of the first things to limit.
In 2015, a study was published investigating the benefits of cocoa for kidney health. Using cocoa flavanols, they found that it protected kidney endothelium and cardiovascular health.
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Remember that flavanols are found in fruits and vegetables. Many people with kidney disease don’t get enough fruits and vegetables in their diet because of concerns about potassium.
If you want to add dark chocolate to your diet, talk to your nutritionist. Although dark chocolate is high in potassium and phosphorus, you can include it in your kidney diet.
Another thing to consider is the oxalates in chocolate. For people who need a low-oxalate diet, chocolate may be a concern.
Cocoa itself is an oxalate source. Therefore, chocolate with more cocoa contains more oxalates.
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Dark chocolate with more than 70% cocoa contains 39 milligrams of oxalates per ounce. This is a large amount for people who need to limit their daily intake of oxalate.
Not everyone needs to limit oxalates. But if you do, this article on gout and kidney stones may be helpful.
Below is a comparative table of phosphorus and potassium content of different types of chocolate. Each amount is based on a 1 ounce serving.
Don’t want to leave temptation in your home after giving away as much candy as possible? Try these ideas to get rid of excess sweets!
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Sharing is good, so why not share with others who can’t spend money on extras like candy? Be sure to check with local food banks and nursing homes about any hygiene concerns before you leave!
A fun and easy breakfast for kids (and adults) to make! Look for yogurt that is low in sugar because you sweeten it with toppings. Coconut and almond yogurts are relatively easy to find and are good for the kidneys.
To make the yogurt crust, spread the yogurt on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Crush or crush your candy and sprinkle over the yogurt. Freeze until solid.
Take some of your candy and mix it with dry cereal, some nuts or seeds and you’ve got a snack that will satisfy any craving!
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Kidney disease can cause chronic dry mouth problems, which aren’t fun if you’re on fluid restriction.
Keep your favorite hard candies in your purse or car to sip on when you’re thirsty and need to limit fluids.
Supporting our military by sending them delicious candy to let them know we’re thinking of them is a wonderful thing to do. (It’s hard to be away from family and friends when it comes to vacation!)
Local companies, including dentists, started helping people avoid getting more cavities!
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Learn more about buying Halloween candy. You can also check with your dentist to see if they participate or if they know of another dental office.
Fruit candies, sour candies, hard candies, jelly beans and others from these groups are good choices for kidney foods. Hard and sour candies are good choices because they can help with dry mouth and fluid retention. Sugar-free candies are good, but still in moderation.
Chocolate is high in phosphorus and potassium. Although it may fit,
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