Good food routine #4

Actively manage your phosphate uptake

Phosphate is important for our bodies, it is essential for strong teeth and bones, and it is needed for all muscle activity. But just like with potassium – when the levels are too high, it is not good for your health.

Okay. So how can I avoid it?

Unfortunately, there is no diet that is phosphate free. In fact, phosphate is very closely linked to protein. And as we have learned, protein fulfils important functions in our body, like building up muscles. Dairy products, for example, have high protein and phosphate contents.

Does that mean I should eat less protein?

For you, you should not avoid or limit these foods - especially meat and fish. But one thing you can and should do to keep your phosphate intake under control, is staying away from processed foods whenever possible. Lots of additives – especially the ones with the “E numbers” – contain high levels of phosphate.

What are my choices in the supermarket? How do I shop? And how do I cook?

We have all become very accustomed to buying ready-made foods. If you need to avoid these, you buy fresh foods – and consequently, you will spend a little more time in the kitchen, cooking meals instead of heating something up or just opening a package.

Packaged desserts for example are usually made with powdered milk, which contains a lot of phosphate. One simple trick for the preparation of desserts: use 1/3 cream and 2/3 water instead of milk, and you’ll consume considerably less phosphate.

Another example: sausages. Not all sausages contain added phosphate. If you have the chance to buy them fresh at the meat counter, you can always ask for sausages that have no or low amounts of added phosphate. Or in baking: Simply take baking soda instead of regular baking powder.

And my medication helps too?

If your doctor has prescribed phosphate binders, it is actually the most important way to manage your phosphate intake. Whenever you eat something that contains high levels of phosphate, you take your phosphate binders – usually with the meal. Always take them as prescribed by your doctor to be sure that they can do their job.

Remember

  • don’t avoid phosphate, manage the uptake
  • switch from processed food to preparing fresh meals
  • if you buy processed food, avoid the "E numbers"
  • always take phosphate binders as prescribed by your doctor

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