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Medical Conditions That Affect Diets

author image Jill Corleone, RDN, LD
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
Medical Conditions That Affect Diets
Some medical conditions require special diets. Photo Credit: DimaSobko/iStock/Getty Images

The premise of a well-balanced diet is to keep people well. "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" encourages fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins to reduce the risk of chronic disease. These recommendations are to help the general public. People with medical problems may require special diets for their conditions.

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Diabetes is a chronic medical condition characterized by elevated blood sugars. One of the primary treatments for diabetes is diet. says people with diabetes do not have to eat special food, they just need to eat the same amount of food every day and at the same time. If people eat consistently and regularly, their carbohydrate intake will be the same from day to day and their blood sugars will stay in control.

Kidney Disease

The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products from the blood. With chronic kidney disease, waste builds up in the blood, making people sick, according to the National Kidney Foundation. The diet for chronic kidney disease limits foods that contribute to the buildup of waste. It is low in protein, sodium, potassium, phosphorous and fluid, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. The diet may need to be readjusted depending on the degree of kidney failure and the need for dialysis.

High Cholesterol

People with high cholesterol are at greater risk of developing heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. People with diets high in saturated fats—like those in meat, dairy and eggs—are more likely to have high cholesterol levels. To reduce cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends limiting the intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, and eating more plant-based foods.


Gout is a painful form of arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid in the joints. In addition to medications, treatment for gout involves limiting the intake of foods high in purines, according to These foods include liver, herring, mackerel and anchovies. Red meat, fatty fish and other seafood can also exacerbate gout. says the diet for gout involves high intake of plant-based proteins, low-fat dairy products and complex carbohydrates.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder affecting the gastrointestinal tract. People with celiac disease cannot eat foods with the gluten protein, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. If they eat foods with gluten, their body responds by damaging the small villi lining the digestive tract. These villi are responsible for the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Gluten is found in all food products containing wheat, rye and barley. People with celiac disease can eat alternative starches such as rice, potatoes, millet, corn and quinoa. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats do not contain gluten and are safe food choices for people with celiac disease.

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