Eating too many tomatoes!

oldroser(z5)October 17, 2007

Didn't think it was possible but just got a message from my family doctor to lay off tomatoes because my potassium level is far too high. Have to call him and explain that it's not a dire indication - just the result of having tomatoes two or three times a day for three months.

We had a killing frost last Friday night so only have another ten days of them left to ripen indoors. But I will give them a miss until next week and more tests. Sigh!

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Thanks for the warning. I will not allow my doctor to test my potassium until all the tomatoes are gone. Pretty soon now.

Had a frost this morning.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 6:59PM
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And, here many of us are trying to keep our blood pressure down by eating more potassium-rich foods . . .

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 10:35PM
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tom8olvr(Z5 MA)

I didn't think it was possible to eat too many tomatoes! Good to know, but probably won't be changing my summer diet! :) Good luck turning down those beauties!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 9:32AM
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Wow, seriously, too high potasium level from eating too many tomatos? I've been making and eating tons of tomatos and tomato products for close to three months, too, and I've been using potasium chloride salt substitute instead of salt in most of them, because everyone in the household has problems with high blood pressure. It tastes a little bitter at first, but you get used to it, and without something everything just tastes too flat.

I had about 35 bushels of tomatos this year off of around 100 plants. One of the best garden years, all in all, we've had here in Michigan in many years. It was extremely dry, but I have the garden lined with black plastic, poked full of lots of tiny drain holes, and I faithfully watered deeply with the sprinklers once a week. Still haven't had a frost yet, but the tomatoes are almost completely done for -- they've all ripened, and most of the vines are dead.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 10:06PM
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MD was issuing dire warnings about kidney and liver problems so I paid attention. And here I had been trying to keep my potassium levels up. Hard to win!
I'll freeze the ripe tomatoes for future reference - in mid-winter they'll make good, 'fresh' sauces.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 9:48AM
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marial1214(Z 6 PA)

I am hypoglyccemic (low blood sugar)and I was told by my nutritionist to NOT eat 3 bowls of tomato gaspacho per day anymore because it increases my sugar too high, then I have a low blood sugar attack the next day. She says one bowl a day is plenty. I love that stuff. I eat it everyday in the summer time. I had no idea it was so high in sugars.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 10:22AM
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Yeah, I cut back on tomatoes and don't bother to eat chard, avocados and bananas, or drink OJ because of potassium overload, but I have kidney disease. One thing I have noticed is that potassium levels can shoot up if a lot of tests are done at once. So I trundle off to the lab the next day and just have potassium tested, and it's been normal. Love tomatoes!

Here is a link that might be useful: Read the last paragraph of lab tests

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 1:02AM
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I'm not a nutritionist so I'm just talking here and linking to government and university information. Of course, individual health concerns are a matter for the individual and his/her healthcare professional.

Nutritional Information "(per one cup chopped raw): 24 calories, 1.1 g protein, 5.3 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 254 mg potassium, 22 mg vitamin C, 1,133 IU vitamin A." Cooking tomatoes boils away the water and concentrates the minerals including the potassium. Potassium is found in many other foods. "Nutritionally, tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Tomatoes also contain lycopene, a carotenoid responsible for the red pigment of tomatoes, watermelon, and grapefruit. Researchers believe lycopene may play a role in the fight against cancer, especially prostate cancer."

"In view of the health benefits of potassium and its relatively low intake by the general population, a daily potassium intake of at least 4,700 mg is recommended." Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Most Americans and Canadians are consuming only about half that amount.

Please keep in mind that for many Americans, the only fruits and vegetables they are consuming are found in pizza.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 9:44PM
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sunsi(z5 NY)

Well you have to follow your doctors advise no matter what but I too was a little surprised that tomatoes will give you high potassium. I love tomatoes and if I don't have them fresh then I will eat tomatoes sauce over spagetti noodles 3-4 times a week and never tire of it (with Locatelli grated cheese, freah Italian garlic bread & meatballs sometimes :P )

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 9:42PM
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If you have some kidney problems going I'd definitely listen to the doctor on your potassium level. I spent over three years on dialysis with kidney failure and had to watch the potassium carefully. Tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, OJ, most leafy greens and other foods are very high in "K". And, also most beans, like navy, pinto, and others.
For the most part I was compliant, but still ended up in the ER twice with a resting heart rate of about 140 by accidentally overdosing myself. The thing to remember is that most foods have some level of potassium, so if you aren't careful, you can easily go beyond what's recommended. The Renal Failure Diet I was on recommended 2000-2500 mg daily. Too high or too low and you can be in real trouble. You can have tomatoes with renal failure, in moderation, real moderation. That means a couple of good sized slices a few times a week.
We'll hope you don't go there. I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I'm grateful for dialysis, it kept me alive until a transplant came available. But it really wasn't any fun. It's not as if you really miss all those things. You lose your taste for a lot of foods anyway.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 11:53PM
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That was fairly close to my wife's experience on dialysis also, John.

There needed to be some resistance to her tendency to "binge" on foods she really liked, such as peaches. But, her interest in food was low until after she was fortunate to have a transplant.

The point I'm trying to make, as carefully as I can, is that most people don't have enough potassium in their diets. A deficiency of potassium is not a good thing and interferes with their health. And, supplements aren't the first choice, a good diet is.

I don't want someone to come away from reading this thread to think that potassium in tomatoes is bad - far from it.

A few people are allergic to tomatoes. My wife had considerably more problems with salt and that's a problem widely shared.

Processed foods are generally so deficient in anything except calories that they might be considered an unhealthy component of diets. And, why is it that every time there's some food scare the TV cameras show up in the fresh produce aisle?

Fresh fruits and vegetables are what most Americans are seriously lacking in their diets. But, this is not the best place to learn about good diets. If you have health problems, your health care professionals are the ones to turn to. For most of us, nutrition information is available from some great on-line sources like the American Dietetic Association (ADA). I'll suggest clicking on their "Step Up to Nutrition and Health" pdf brochure. But, there's lots of info on the website to help us achieve a healthier diet.


Here is a link that might be useful: Food and Nutrition

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 11:28AM
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