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Home > Clinical Nutrition Services > Renal Nutrition > Nutrition for Chronic Kidney Disease

Nutrition for Chronic Kidney Disease

Managing kidney disease can prevent prolong the time between stage 1 and stage 5 (end stage, less than 15% of the kidneys are working and dialysis is needed).  Common causes of kidney disease are Diabetes and High Blood Pressure.

Role of the Nutritionist: 

  • Help you learn the self management techniques to formulate an overall healthy diet with considerations made for your renal status
  • Your dietary limitations will depend on your nephrologist's assessment
  • Instituting a renal diet can help control buildup of waste products and fluid in your blood, decrease workload of your kidneys, slow down the progression of kidney disease

Considerations in Planning a Renal Diet: 


  • Goal: adequate protein for nourishment, growth, and tissue repair; avoid excess protein intake that turns into a waste product (urea) that your kidneys must eliminate
  • Rich sources of protein: lean meat, poultry, dairy, fish, and seafood
  • Ask your nutritionist how much protein is appropriate for your diet


  • High sodium intake can increase blood pressure and fluid retention; excess fluid in the body can cause difficulty breathing, chest pain, edema, high blood pressure
  • High sodium foods: salt, canned soups, frozen dinners, processed cheese, "fast food", pickles, olives, smoked and cured foods such as bacon, ham, luncheon meats
  • Read labels. Choose products with less than 140 mg. sodium per serving and less than 600 mg. sodium per frozen dinner


  • If you are retaining fluids, you may need to limit liquid intake to 6-8 cups of fluid per day
  • Measure any liquid or any food that melts in your mouth like ice cream, ice, jello, pudding, broth, coffee, tea, milk
  • Excess fluid in the body can cause difficulty breathing, chest pain, edema, high blood pressure
  • Your nutritionist can share tips on how to control thirst and dry mouth


  • High levels of phosphorus weaken your bones
  • Control phosphorus by avoiding high phosphorus foods: dried beans and peas, nuts, liver and other organ meats, cola, beer, canned salmon. Limit milk to ½ cup and cheese to 1 ounce, take phosphate binders as prescribed by your doctor. Examples of "binders" are calcium carbonate, "Tums", Phoslo, Renagel, Amphojel/Alucap


  • Both high and low potassium levels are dangerous to your heart, ask your physician what your potassium level is once you are diagnosed with kidney disease
  • Foods high in potassium content are: bananas, oranges, kiwi, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, dried beans, "salt substitutes", nuts, potatos, tomatos
  • Your nutritionst can help you with diet modifications

Vitamins and Minerals:

  • Vitamins made for patients with kidney disease have extra B-vitamins, no Vitamin A and some Vitamin C. Talk to your physician about supplements
  • Iron supplementation is needed to help increase red blood cells. Do not take your iron supplement at the same time as your calcium becuase it affects absorption