Special to the Register
For the 25 million Americans who are suffering with kidney disease, one of the most difficult things is changing diet.
Being told that one must reduce or give up many, if not all, of their favorite foods in order to live can be overwhelming for the patient.
At North Central Texas College, nursing students are taught about kidney disease and are trained about these dietary changes, but very seldom do they ever experience those sacrifices first-hand.
That changed this week as the second-year students in the associate degree nursing program participated in a class project to find recipes that could be a good dietary choice for a patient diagnosed with kidney disease.
“We are studying about renal disorder and our instructor wanted us to get a taste of what some of the people have to go through when they eat and how it’s not really that great,” said Amber Tatum of Gainesville.
Students had to work together in groups to come up with recipes that would be appropriate for kidney disease patients. The students then brought their food to class on Tuesday and shared it with NCTC employees who served as taste testers.
These testers then shared their feedback on such details as taste, texture and appearance.
“Renal-failure diets are very complex and they can vary depending on if the patient is using dialysis or not, but in general they will want to avoid too much salt, potassium, phosphorous or eating too much protein,” said NCTC nursing instructor Eryn Boyet.
The food items that were tested included pineapple salsa and chips, low-salt macaroni and cheese, spicy angel cake, chocolate-covered strawberries, and low sodium pound cake. The taste testers voted the spicy angel cake as their favorite.
The testers also provided comments while tasting each food item.
“Our taste testers thought that just about everything needed salt,” student Diane Beckmann said.
“I would not live because I love salt,” fellow student Tiffany Ott added.
The experiment allowed the nursing students to see first-hand how restrictive diets are for patients with renal problems.
“Most dietary habits of Americans do not complement the restrictions needed for a kidney diet very well at all,” Boyet said.