Question:

I have a potassium level of 6.0 and my doctor says I need to consult a nutritionist to fix my diet. I have a pretty simple diet day in and day out, coffee and a bagel with the cream cheese and lox for breakfast, a fresh salad with tomatoes, cucumber, radish, green onions and sour cream early afternoon, and a sandwich either with tuna salad or pastrami and V8 juice in the late afternoon. I don’t see how that can affect potassium level. I would appreciate your professional opinion on the subject. Thank you very much in advance.

– Leonard G.

Answer:

While I can’t provide you individualized treatment recommendations through this forum, I will address a low-potassium diet for hyperkalemia in general. Always follow the advice of your physician. For personalized medical nutrition therapy, please visit a registered dietitian nutritionist. Find one through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics here.

The potential potassium content of a day’s intake with only 12 fl oz black coffee, 3 oz bagel, 2 oz lox, 2 tbsp cream cheese, salad (w/ tomato, cucumber, radish, green onion & 2 tbsp sour cream), tuna salad sandwich on wheat bread, and 12 fl oz V8 juice would be in the range of 1,500-2,000 milligrams, which is compatible with a low-potassium diet. Of course, your intake would be greater if your portions are greater.

Lists of high and low potassium foods are offered by the National Kidney Foundation. Look for areas you can reduce your intake further. Vegetable juice is listed as high potassium, whereas apple, kale, and celery are listed as low potassium. You could juice those three together for a lower potassium late afternoon drink.

 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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