When diabetes insipidus is the diagnosis, then the body cannot properly control the balance of fluids within it. The kidneys are either not working properly or hormone levels that tell the kidneys to work properly are out of order. The end result is that people with diabetes insipidus will need to go to the bathroom more often than others because they are drinking more fluids.
Depending on the severity of the disease development, one of the primary methods of treating this disease is to change some lifestyle habits. That may include a recommendation to go onto a diabetes insipidus diet plan. Depending on your specific health needs, you may have a nutritionist included on your treatment team that will help you develop recipes to use.
If you just want to adopt this diet on your own or the diet has been recommended and you don’t have a nutritionist or other specialist to help, then here is what you’re going to want to do. Before making any changes, however, it is important that you speak with your doctor about your concerns and plans.
1. Avoid Salty Foods At All Costs.
Salt naturally enhances the thirst that someone has. It creates an instant sensation of being thirsty that will cause more fluids to be consumed then are actually necessary. Any foods with added sodium should be instantly off-limits. This means eliminating fast foods, salted snacks like peanuts and pretzels, and certain grocery items, like soy sauce.
The goal isn’t to reduce the amount of fluids that you’re consuming. It is to reduce the amount of urine that the body is producing. If you consume extra fluids, you’ll create extra urine. With diabetes insipidus, a person will already be going to the bathroom more than they usually do. Avoiding salty foods won’t make that problem even worse.
2. Stop Using Caffeinated Products Whenever Possible.
Some diuretics are effectively used to treat diabetes insipidus, but caffeine is not one of them. When following this diet plan, it is important to remove most caffeine sources from the diet immediately. That is because most caffeine sources tend to be liquid-based, like coffee or carbonated soft drinks.
Caffeine can also be found in some different products today that aren’t liquid-based, but still should be avoided because in excessive amounts, it will cause the kidneys to extract more water from the body. Look for caffeine in these specific items.
- Beef jerky.
- Chewing gum.
- Aspirin and other OTC medications.
3. Processed Foods Must Be Avoided At All Costs.
Processed food might be cheaper than fresh food, but it also contains a number of preservatives that can worsen the signs and symptoms of diabetes insipidus. This would include processed cheeses, meats, breads, and boxed foods. The primary issue here is that many processed foods contain high levels of sodium to help preserve them. These foods are also not generally nutritionally dense in vitamins or minerals, something that your body needs more of on a daily basis because of the constant purging that is going on.
4. Reduce The Amount Of Protein That Is Being Consumed.
Proteins will also help to encourage the body to create more urine, which is why limiting them is a good idea. Having the 10 ounce steak should become a once-per-month rarity at best. Fish, eggs, and even poultry should all be avoided in excess amounts. Even legumes and nuts that are protein-rich should be avoided. You’ll still need to consume protein in your diet to stay healthy, but keep it to recommended levels and avoid excess consumption to promote better health.
5. Water-Based Foods May Be Beneficial.
Because the fluids of the body need to be continually replaced thanks to the urge to purge that the kidneys have, foods that are rich in water may be recommended as a way to avoid drinking more fluids. Melons, fruits, and certain vegetables all have high water content in them with the vitamins and minerals the body needs.
How Can a Low Sodium Diet Be Followed?
The problem with the diabetes insipidus diet is that food flavor is reduced because the amount of salt in the food is reduced. The average person consumes 3,400mg of salt every day and a low sodium diet’s threshold is just 1,500mg per day. Cutting back can be difficult at first, but some of these quick recipe options can make the transition become less difficult.
Oatmeal with Bananas and Nuts
Look for oatmeal that has no added sodium to it. Then you’ll want to cook the oatmeal according to instructions using unsalted water. Add in a sliced banana, a few unsalted walnuts, and more than a dash of cinnamon to have a flavorful breakfast. Not only will this give your body a dose of potassium, but you’ll get some high fiber foods that can help to absorb water and prevent less urine generation as well. It’s 300+ calories and contains no salt.
Many people wind up avoiding potatoes when going with the diabetes insipidus diet because of how much salt tends to be in the oil needed to fry them. Getting crispy hash browns can happy with a simple cooking spray and a screaming hot pan with thin cut potatoes. Look for a low sodium option for the cooking spray and don’t add any salt to the potatoes. Add peppers or mushrooms to the hash instead to give it some flavor. It has fewer than 100 calories and there is less than 100mg of salt per serving as well.
Ceviche of Scallops
With just over 100 calories per serving and 125mg of salt per serving, the benefit of this simple dish is that it can be made up to 16 hours in advance so it can taken to work for lunch. Get fresh scallops whenever possible because frozen scallops are difficult to cook properly. If frozen, thaw the scallops before working with them. Use orange, lemon, and lime juice, some fresh cilantro, tomatillos, serrano peppers, and a dash of onion. Put just a dash of salt on it and mix together. Then cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.
What Foods Should Be Avoided Most Often?
Naturally occurring salt in foods accounts for less than 15% of a person’s total overall daily intake. Even so, when trying to follow the diabetes insipidus diet, it is important to limit certain foods because they have naturally high levels of sodium that can become bothersome when consumed in high amounts.
Beets are the worst offender. Each root vegetable has more than 60mg of sodium in it. If eaten on a regular basis, it will be important to remove other salt items from the diet to compensate so the 1,500mg threshold is avoided. On the other hand, shaved beets that are fried in a low or no sodium oil can become a substitute for potato chips when a craving might hit. Don’t eat raw beets and remember to wear gloves when working with them.
Celery is generally used for beef and chicken stock because of its natural absorption of sodium. Adding celery to a stew makes it possible to add seasoning that occurs naturally. The vegetable itself can be quite salty, but salt-free celery seeds provide the same salty flavor of celery without the sodium upgrade. Consider stocking up on this item to fool the taste buds into the diabetes insipidus diet transition.
Carrots are also remarkably salty. Just one large carrot may have up to 25mg of salt in it, which means even those baby carrots might not be the greatest option. Boiling carrots can help to remove some of the salt from them, but then you’re left with carrot mush. Consider combining boiled carrots into boiled sweet potatoes to get more flavor from them both without going overboard on the salt.
Spinach is one of the worst vegetable offenders of all. Just one cup of boiled spinach has 125mg of salt to it. The only thing worse is Swiss chard, which packs an incredible 300mg of sodium per 1 cup serving. These greens are quite healthy if you’ve limited your salt intake throughout the day, but consistently eating them could be problematic for diabetes insipidus.
A Diabetes Insipidus Diet Could Be the Key To Your Health
The diagnosis of diabetes insipidus may require some lifestyle changes that can be difficult at times, but the immediate benefit to health will outweigh the disadvantages of giving up beloved foods. It’s natural to grieve during lifestyle changes like these, but stay active and involved with the diabetes insipidus diet. When bathroom trips become less frequent, the successes of following the diet will make the transition easier in the long run.
You can be in control of your disease. You don’t have to keep running to the bathroom. Use these suggestions and recipe ideas to manage your diabetes insipidus today. You may see results from these changes as soon as tomorrow.