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Nefrologia. 2007;27(1):38-45.

[Nutrient intake and eating habits in hemodialysis patients: comparison with a model based on mediterranean diet].

[Article in Spanish]

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Nefrología, Hospital de Alcañiz, Teruel.



Inadequate nutrient intake seems to be one of the most important cause of malnutrition in hemodialysis patients. The purpose of this study was to analyse their nutrient intake and eating habits, comparing food groups' intake with standard Mediterranean diet values (Healthy Diet Guide 2004, Nutrition Community Spanish Society).


There were 28 stable hemodialysis (HD) patients, 15 males and 13 females, mean age 62,9 +/- 16 years. Dietary evaluation was based on 7-day dietary recalls conducted by a single observer. We compare nutrients intake with recommended hemodialysis intake and we contrast food groups consumption with the theoretical ideal based on Mediterranean diet.


The protein intake was 1,33 +/- 0,2 g/kg/day and the energy intake 29,5 +/- 2,1 kcal/kg/day. Carbohydrates accounted 43,1% of energy intake, proteins 19% and lipids 37,9% (55,5% monounsaturated fatty acids, 16,4% polyunsaturated fatty acids and 28,1% saturated fatty acids). Complex carbohydrates (potatoes, cereals, vegetables, fruits) and olive oil consumption was lower than that recommended to the Spanish healthy population and to the chronic hemodialysis patients. The animal protein intake (meat, fish, eggs) was correct, although excessive in red and processed meats. Results: Potatoes and cereals recommended frequency (RF) 4-6 portions/day, HD patients frequency (HDF) 4,1 portions/day; vegetables RF > 2 portions/day, HDF 1,2; fruits RF > 3 portions/day, HDF 1,3; olive oil RF 3-6 portions/day, HDF 1,5; Fish RF 3-4 portions/week, HDF 4,2; White meat RF 3-4 portions/week, HDF 1,5; Poultry RF 3-4 portions/week, HDF 2,3; Eggs RF 3-4 portions/week, HDF 3,6; Pulses RF 3-4 portions/week, HDF 1,7; Nuts RF 3-7 portions/week, HDF 0; Red meat RF occasionally, HDF 4,8 portions/week; Processed meats RF occasionally, HDF 4,6 portions/week; Sweets, snacks, soft drinks RF occasionally, HDF 1,7 portions/week; Butter, margarine, processed bakery products, biscuits RF occasionally , HDF 0,5 portions/week.


Nutritional abnormalities are frequently found even in apparently stable patients on chronic hemodialysis. Caloric rather than protein undernutrition is the major abnormality. Inadequate caloric intake (< 35 kcal/kg/day) can lead to a negative nitrogen balance. Their eating habits are healthy and natural, but there is a deficit in slowly absorbed carbohydrates and olive oil intake (with caloric intake reduction), and an excessive consumption of red and processed meats (with saturated fats increase). The individual correction of these dietary patterns could reduce the saturated fats and increase the energy intake, obtaining a balanced diet integrated into our geographic region and culture.

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