Kidney Disease diet

Keeping our electrolytes balanced is one of the many jobs our kidneys have.

When our kidneys aren’t working at full capacity, we have to be extra careful about foods that are high in certain electrolytes. Foods high in sodium, potassium, phosphorus and protein can especially strain the kidneys.

There is no single diet that fits all people with chronic kidney disease. Food choices depend on how well a person’s kidneys are working, body weight and food serving sizes.

Consult your doctor or nutritionist for specific guidance before making any changes.

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About This Diet

This setting may be appropriate for chronic kidney disease that is NOT dialysis-dependent.

It mostly limits foods high in sodium, potassium and phosphorus.
Examples of high sodium foods include:
Salty and processed foods.
Salty condiments.
Salty cheeses.

Examples of high potassium foods include:
Fruits.
Vegetables and legumes.
Nuts.

Examples of high phosphorus and protein foods include:
Meats.
Dairy.
Nuts and beans.

More details about this setting:
Nutrient data is from USDA National Nutrient Database and Health Canada. Fat-free and sodium-free options are used when available.

We analyzed each food based on its typical serving size. Here are some examples:
Meat-based products – 2-3 oz
Milk and yogurt – 1/2 cup
Cheese – 1-2 slices
Beans and grains – 1/2 cup
Most vegetables and fruit – 1/2 cup
Nuts – 1/4 cup; nut butters – 1/8 cup
Breads – 1 slice
Alcoholic beverages – 1 drink daily.

Thresholds in mg per serving for:
Sodium: <120 OK, 121-600 maybe OK, >600 not OK
Potassium: <100 OK, 101-200 maybe OK, >200 not OK
Phosphorus: <50 OK, 51-100 maybe OK, >100 not OK

Most animal protein is high in protein and phosphorus, both of which may strain kidney function. But given the need for kidney disease patients to maintain protein intake, animal proteins are designated maybe OK for a 2-3 oz serving.

Note: Food recommendations vary based on the severity of your kidney condition. Also, portion sizes are an important consideration for all foods.

Be sure to consult your nephrologist or nutritionist before making any dietary changes to see what’s appropriate for you.

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