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Podcast / Inside Food science
Podcast / Inside Food science

Caring for your kidneys – the crucial role nutrition plays

It is probably fair to say the kidney is one of the more overlooked organs in the body.

As with a lot of things, we do not tend to pay it much attention until it is not functioning properly.

But kidney disease is more prevalent than you might think. 3.5 million people in the UK are living at risk of chronic kidney disease and it can affect anyone at any time.

While kidney disease can be extremely serious, nutrition is vital in managing the condition effectively, and correct nutrition can also help prevent kidney damage in the first place. 

Eating with our kidneys in mind is a very good idea.

In this episode of the Food Matter Live podcast, we look at some of the most common issues with kidney disease, how diet can be used to prevent and control it, and ask: what role can the food industry play in improving our kidney health?

Dr Barbara Engel, Programme Director Dietetics, University of Surrey

Barbara has been a dietitian for over 25 years and has covered most areas of dietetics but, in particular, she has worked in the fields of renal disease, gastroenterology, diabetes and intensive care. She has been the Programme Director for Dietetics for the last seven years. 

Her main remit as Programme Director is to ensure the Dietetic Programme meets the high standards expected by the British Dietetic Association and the Health and Care Professions Council. As the Team Lead for Dietetics, Barbara coordinates the activities of a small but vibrant team to ensure high standards of teaching and excellent placement opportunities for the students.

Until March 2020, she worked one day a week at St George’s hospital as a renal dietitian where she cared for people with renal disease on dialysis in particular looking after the young adults on dialysis.

In the last 10 years, she has also worked for Central Surrey Health where she was the highly specialist Nutrition Support Dietitian and Team Leader for Acute Dietetic Services.

She was awarded the Spirit Award for outstanding contribution to patient care (March 2011).

Since March 2020, she has developed and led a Public Health Project called Be Your Best. Throughout lockdown Barbara’s nutrition and dietetic students, aided by facilitators, have been running a five-week course for families on healthy eating, the importance of exercise and sleep, budgeting and meal planning.

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