Know the Facts About Potential Health Benefits and Risks of a Plant-Based Diet with Chronic Kidney Disease {Interview}

Know the Facts About Potential Health Benefits and Risks of a Plant-Based Diet with Chronic Kidney Disease {Interview}

With so many diets and eating plans touted in the news these days, it’s hard to know which is the best to follow for maximum health. Plant-based diets emphasize grains, nuts and fruits, but for those with chronic kidney disease (CKD), making the right diet choice is critical, especially for those with hyperkalemia, a condition that refers to having abnormally high blood potassium levels. As plant-based diets contain sources of potassium, they can also be fatal for patients with CKD if the level of potassium in their blood spikes. In the U.S. alone, more than 3 million people are living with hyperkalemia and people with conditions such as CKD or heart disease are at more risk.

Join me in a recent interview with Dr. Deborah Clegg, affiliated with Cedars-Sinai, UCLA and American University and lead study investigator on plant-based diets in people with CKD, as she discussed vital information for patients whose kidneys are not functioning properly. She also shared newer treatment options that help facilitate the body’s potassium levels that may be beneficial, while also maximizing the benefit of a plant-based diet.

Hear the entire interview here:

For further information on hyperkalemia, please visit

More About Deborah Clegg, PhD

Deborah Clegg, PhD, is a professor in the Cedars-Sinai Division of General Internal Medicine and Department of Biomedical Sciences. Her research focus is on understanding the impact of sex hormones on energy homeostasis, metabolic function and adipose tissue distribution. Specifically, her lab researches whether androgens and estrogens are involved in the modulation of the major bioenergetic or biosynthetic pathways that normally support energy homeostasis and adipose tissue function. There are sex differences with respect to body fat distribution and prevalence of the metabolic syndrome. Disease prevalence changes over the course of the lifespan due to fluctuations in sex hormone levels. During her postdoctoral education at the University of Cincinnati, Clegg obtained strong guidance in intermediary metabolism, and her research focused on the consequences of impaired metabolism to energy homeostasis. Clegg mastered techniques to evaluate physiology in cells and whole animals. As an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, she applied this expertise in physiology where she established methods to interrogate novel aspects of sex hormones and their impact on metabolism. This work was funded by a National Institutes of Health R01 grant, which focuses on the role of estrogen in the central nervous system to regulate food intake and body weight. Clegg’s work was later funded by Society for Women’s Health Research’s Interdisciplinary Studies in Sex-Differences Networks. These funds were to be used to focus on sex differences in gene expression in adipose tissues. New principles emerging from this work suggest that specific metabolic pathways are influenced by sex hormones and are necessary for the development of adipose tissue function and metabolism. In July 2014, Clegg joined the faculty at Cedars-Sinai, where she has established her independent laboratory.


Cynthia Tait

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