Saturday, January 8, 2011

Potassium Levels in Food

It’s hard to determine the amount of potassium in a food item if the label doesn’t even indicate there is any to begin with. Take Peanut Butter. I have two different kinds (brands) of peanut butter on my shelf. Peter Pan and Jif. NEITHER of them indicates the presence of potassium but when I Googled “potassium in peanut butter” I found that two tablespoons has 240 mg of potassium. And – it’s not even easy to find that information. http://www.krispin.com/potassm.html was one that listed it, but I had to scroll down to find it. I had to check several links in my search to discover one that actually listed it. I went to the USDA Nutrient Database (from another link that sent me to WikiPedia and then it was listed under a table showing the nutrients present) and I was able to plug Peanut Butter and the serving size into their little search boxes and got 238 mg for 2 tablespoons. That’s a handy little database to have access to. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/.

How am I supposed to keep his potassium level down if the foods I buy don’t even show the true makeup of the nutrient list? I read labels. Very. Closely. Always.

We have two different cans of Fruit Cocktail - both canned by Del Monte. One is canned in water and the other is canned in extra light syrup. The one canned in extra light syrup has 15g of carbohydrates per serving (3.5 servings in a can) and the other one (canned in water) has the same number of servings and 11g of carbohydrates. Sodium levels are the same. One lists potassium (the one canned in water) and the other does not. So, they ADD potassium in the form of an artificial sweetener. If I give him the one canned in water, I'm giving him 420mg of potassium (he eats the whole can in the course of the day). If I give him the other, he takes in 52g of sugar. Which is harder on him? The potassium or the sugar? Both of them are bad but how do I decide which one of these two "evils" is better for him? What a choice!

He's getting the sugar. I can counter that with lowering his carbohydrate count in other areas throughout the day or - if all else fails - give him some more insulin. He needs the fruit and fresh is actually worse (in some fruits) than the canned.

4 comments:

Bouncin' Barb said...

I wish I had some advice for you. But I personally have the opposite. My potassium drops dangerously low from the blood pressure meds I take. I was taking a pill daily but the doc switched my meds around and so far so good. Do you have a nutritionist that you can ask? That's their field of expertise. Just a suggestion. Hugs.

Thisisme said...

Must be a real headache Teresa, when you are desperately trying to keep things on an even keel for Ron. Think the advice of chatting to a Nutritionist might be the answer.

caterpillar said...

Sounds like a difficult thing...I agree with Barb and Thisisme, maybe your nutritionist might be able to help...

Marla said...

Have you tried a health food store? Many times they have a nutritionist on hand to help you figure it all out.

Also, ask our doctor for a diet plan to help Ron. He should be able to provide you one at no cost. Sometimes it is easier to follow a plan than trying to sort through it all.