Inadequate Awareness among Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Regarding Food and Drinks Containing Artificially Added Phosphate

Hyperphosphatemia is an important determinant of morbidity and mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Patients with CKD are advised to consume a low phosphate diet and are often prescribed phosphate-lowering drug therapy. However, commercially processed food and drinks often contain phosphate compounds, but the phosphate level is not usually provided in the ingredient list, which makes it difficult for CKD patients to choose a correct diet. We conducted a survey of the awareness of food/beverages containing artificially added phosphate among CKD patients undergoing hemodialysis. The subjects were 153 patients (77 males and 76 females; average age 56±11 years) who were randomly selected from the Dialysis Center of Hirosaki City, Japan. The subjects were provided with a list of questions. The survey results showed that 93% of the subjects were aware of the presence of high sugar content in soda, whereas only 25% were aware of the presence of phosphate (phosphoric acid) in such drinks. Despite 78% of the subjects being aware of the detrimental effects of consumption of a high phosphate diet, 43% drank at least 1 to 5 cans of soda per week and about 17% consumed “fast food” once each week. We also assessed the immediate effects of high-phosphate containing carbonated soda consumption by determining urinary calcium, phosphate, protein and sugar contents in overnight fasted healthy volunteers (n = 55; average age 20.7±0.3 years old, 20 males and 35 females). Significantly higher urinary calcium (adjusted using urinary creatinine) excretion was found 2 h after consuming 350 ml of carbonated soda compared to the fasting baseline level (0.15±0.01 vs. 0.09±0.01, p = 0.001). Our survey results suggest that CKD patients undergoing hemodialysis are not adequately aware of the hidden source of phosphate in their diet, and emphasize the need for educational initiatives to raise awareness of this issue among CKD patients.