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Kidney Friendly Diet

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Kidney Friendly Diet


What is Kidney Friendly Diet and Why it is important? 

What you eat and drink affects your health. Staying healthy and eating a balanced and good diet that is low in salt and fat can help you control your blood pressure. If you have diabetes, you can help control your blood sugar by carefully choosing what you eat and drink. Controlling high blood pressure and diabetes are vital for preventing kidneys from getting further damaged. A kidney-friendly diet may also help protect your kidneys from further damage. A kidney-friendly diet limits certain foods to prevent the minerals in those foods from building up in your body.

Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease 

There are five stages of chronic kidney disease (Stage 1-5). Your doctor determines your stage of kidney disease based on the presence of kidney damage and your glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which is a measure of your level of kidney function. Your treatment is based on your stage of kidney disease. Speak to your doctor if you have any questions about your stage of kidney disease or your treatment.

Why is good nutrition important for people with kidney disease? 

Making healthy food choices is important to us all, but it is even more important if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Why? Good nutrition gives you energy to:

•do your daily tasks

•prevent infection

•build muscle

•help maintain a healthy weight

•and it may keep your kidney disease from getting worse.

Will I need to change my diet if I have kidney disease? 

There is no single eating plan that is right for everyone with kidney disease. What you can or cannot eat will change over time, depending on how much kidney function you have and other things, like having diabetes. Your doctor can refer you to a dietitian who can teach you how to choose foods that are right for you.

What are the basics of good nutrition? 

A healthy eating plan gives you the right amount of:

Why do I need protein? 

Protein is an important nutrient. Your body needs protein to help build muscle, repair tissue, and fight infection. But if you have kidney disease, you may need to closely watch the protein you eat to prevent protein wastes from building up in your blood. This can help your kidneys work longer. Your doctor will tell you if you need to limit how much protein you eat each day

How many calories do I need? 

every person is different. Calories are like fuel—they provide your body with the energy you need to live. They are important because they:

•help you stay at a healthy body weight

•give you energy to do your daily tasks and remain active

•help your body use the protein in food to build muscles and tissues (Without enough calories, your body will "waste" protein to provide you with energy instead of using protein to build your muscles and tissues.)

It is important to plan meals that give you enough calories each day.

How do I get enough vitamins and minerals? 

Most people get enough vitamins and minerals to stay healthy by eating a wide variety of foods each day. However, if you have kidney disease, you may need to limit some foods that would normally give you these important vitamins and minerals.

How will I know if I am getting enough calories and nutrients? 

Your doctor will give you blood tests and urine tests. These will help show whether or not you are getting enough nutrients. Your dietitian may also ask you about the foods you eat. You may also be asked to keep a "food diary”.

Will I need to control any other nutrients? 

You may need to balance fluids and other important nutrients too. They are:

• sodium
• potassium

Sodium is a mineral found in most foods. It is also found in table salt. Sodium affects blood pressure and water balance in your body. Healthy kidneys can control sodium. But, if your kidneys do not work well, sodium and fluid build up in your body. This can cause high blood pressure and other problems.

You can limit sodium by avoiding table salt and foods such as:

•seasonings like soy sauce, sea salt, teriyaki sauce, garlic salt, or onion salt

•most canned foods and frozen dinners

•processed meats like ham, bacon, hot dogs, sausage, and deli meats

•salted snack foods, like chips and crackers

•canned or dehydrated soups (like packaged noodle soup)

•most restaurant foods, take-out foods, and fast foods*

*The food list is not complete


People with kidney disease may need to closely monitor phosphorus in foods, especially if their kidney disease is advanced. Phosphorus is a mineral found in many foods. Large amounts of phosphorus are found in:

•dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and pudding

•nuts and peanut butter

•dried beans and peas, such

as kidney beans, split peas, and lentils

•beverages such as cocoa, beer, and dark cola drinks

•bran breads and bran cereals

•processed, convenience, and fast foods, including some meats that have additives to make them tender*

*This food list is not complete.

What happens when phosphorus builds up in your blood? 

Your blood calcium levels drop and calcium is pulled from the bones. Over time, your bones will become weak and break easily. A high level of phosphorus in your blood

may also cause calcium to build up in your blood vessels, heart, joints, muscles, and skin, where it does not belong.


Calcium is a mineral that is important for building strong bones. However, foods that are good sources of calcium are often high in phosphorus. The

best way to prevent calcium loss from your bones is to limit high-phosphorus foods. You may also need to take phosphate binders and avoid eating calcium-fortified foods.

Do not take over-the-counter vitamin D or calcium supplements unless recommended by your kidney doctor.


Most people with kidney disease do not need to limit the amount of fluids they drink if they are in the early stages. If you do not know your stage of kidney disease, ask your doctor.

If your kidney disease gets worse, your doctor will let you know if you need to limit fluids and how much fluid is okay for you each day. To avoid dehydration, let your doctor and dietitian help plan your fluid intake.

What if I have diabetes? 

You may need to make a few changes in your diet if you have diabetes and kidney disease. If your doctor says that you should eat less protein,

your diet may need to include more carbohydrates or high-quality fats to give you enough calories. Work with your dietitian to make a meal plan

that is right for you.

What if I’m a vegetarian? 

Most vegetarian diets are not rich in higher quality protein. But eating a variety of foods and getting enough calories can help. Without enough calories, your body will break down the protein you eat to create energy instead. If protein is broken down, more waste products have to be removed by your kidneys. Ask about ways to check that the amount of protein you are eating is right for you.

What if I need help planning meals?

Your doctor can refer you to a registered dietitian with special training in kidney disease. The dietitian can:

•help you choose foods that will give you the right nutrients in the right amounts

•explain why the diet changes you need to make are important