Packaged Meats Pack An Added Punch Of Phosphate For Kidney Disease Sufferers

A Canadian study discovered that phosphate additives are common in packaged meat, poultry, and fish (MPF) products. It also noted that the phosphorus content for packages that list phosphate additives is significantly more than that of packages that don’t.

Pauline B. Darling, PhD, RD, of the University of Ottawa, and her team consulted 67 patients of peritoneal dialysis from Canada for a food frequency questionnaire. The major 8 MPF intakes include unbreaded chicken, ground beef, steak, white fish, beef burgers, deli meats, bacon, and shrimp. For further analysis, they separated the MPF that had phosphorus and potassium additives listed on its package from those that didn’t. It has been observed that not all packaged foods list additives on their package so they made use of fresh MPF, totally free of additives and manually added ingredients to serve as control group.

Sodium, potassium and Phosphorus additives was listed in 72%, 9% and 37% respectively and based on the chemical analyses, the phosphorus content was higher in MPF listing phosphorus additives than in those that didn’t list. On the average, they recorded 210 vs 200 vs 270 mg per 100g of food respectively.

Similar effects were observed with potassium additives. More potassium was present in the MPF listing a potassium additive than the unlisted MPF and the additive-free MPF: 900 vs 325 vs 420 mg per 100 g of food on the average, respectively. Based on prior information, potassium lactate is allowed in about 4.8% of foods in the US.

The studies from Europe and the United States were actually supported by the findings that were published in the Journal of Renal Nutrition. Additives cause a significant risk increase for hyperkalemia and hypophosphatemia.

 Dr. Darlington and colleagues noted that additive usage in packaged MPF products noted in the ingredient list could contribute immensely to the dietary potassium and phosphorus loads in people having CKD. People with pre existing conditions of CKD should be discouraged from consuming MPF food listing potassium and or phosphorus additives on their ingredient list.

The team went on to note that enhanced product basically have significant phosphorus additives in them and as such, they should be avoided. They also noted that during the thawing process for seafood purchased from the grocery store, there is a possibility that these unlabeled foods could contain phosphate additives.

What can you do to limit phosphates? 

• Go Vegetarian! Vegetables are much lower in phosphate content on average.

• Avoid meat and meat products.

• Limit nuts and seeds as they are also rich in phosphorous.

• If you really can’t go without processed meat, opt for vegetarian substitutes. There are literally tons out there, including vegan beef jerky. Expand your horizons!