The National Kidney Foundation said in a March 5 blog post that it supports the U.S Food and Drug Administration's proposed nutrition label changes. The proposed changes would put a greater emphasis on calories, highlight added sugars, and give exact amounts of certain nutrients, including potassium and calcium.

For the first time since food labels were introduced in 1993, the FDA is proposing changes. "People are eating larger serving sizes," the FDA said in its announcement of the proposed changes."Rates of obesity, heart disease and stroke remain high. More is known about the relationship between nutrients and the risk of chronic diseases." Many health professionals are supporting the proposed measures.

(Related: The right diet may help prevent kidney disease)

"The National Kidney Foundation commends the FDA for this proposal and has advocated strongly for adding potassium content to all labels and expanding the requirement for full disclosure on calcium content," the NKF said in the post. "This is because it is essential that two of our very large constituent groups have this information. For those with hypertension, which affects 73 million Americans and can lead to kidney disease, increasing potassium and calcium intake might lower blood pressure. Eating more potassium-rich foods can prevent or delay the onset of high blood pressure."

"On the other hand, for the 26 million Americans with chronic kidney disease, too much potassium and calcium can have a negative impact on their health.  They must reduce their dietary intake of both of those nutrients. "

The goal of the label changes is not to tell people what they should be eating, but to expand and highlight the information they most need when making food choices, the FDA said.

(Related: Spicing up the renal diet)

"Currently, food manufacturers are not required to list potassium content at all and calcium content is only listed as a percentage of the USDA recommended daily allowance, rather than the unit amount of calcium contained in a given food," the NKF said. "So people who have specific requirements for each of those nutrients are left in the dark as to whether they can purchase certain foods."


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