Medical Center

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Home > Clinical Nutrition Services > Renal Nutrition > Nutrition and Dialysis

Nutrition and Dialysis

1.    Special Diet

  • Help control buildup of waste products and fluid in your blood
  • Keep you healthy
  • Avoid complications of end stage kidney disease such as calciphylaxis (calcium deposits in soft tissues), renal bone disease, heart disease, malnutrition
  • Involves protein, sodium, fluid, phosphorus, potassium.

2.    Protein

  • For growth, building muscles and repair tissues
  • Goal: adequate protein to replace protein loss caused by kidney disease.
  • Rich sources of protein: lean meat, poultry, dairy, fish, seafood.
  • Dialysis: you need at least 8 ounces of lean meat group a day. Ask your renal dietitian how much is enough protein.

3.    Sodium

  • High sodium intake can increase blood pressure and fluid retention (edema).
  • High sodium foods: salt, canned soups, processed cheese, some canned goods, “fast foods”, pickles, olives, smoked and cured foods: 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.                  

4.    Fluids                                                                             

  • If you are retaining fluids , you may need to limit liquid intake to 6-8 cups of fluid a day. Goal is not to gain more than 3 kilograms (or 6 pounds ) between hemodialysis treatments.
  • 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 causes difficulty breathing, chest pain, edema, high blood pressure. Your dietitian can share tips on how to control thirst and dry mouth.

5.    Phosphorus

  • Your kidneys may not get rid of extra phosphorus at this stage of kidney disease.
  • High levels of phosphorus weaken your bones and can cause them to break easily.
  • Control phosphorus by:     
    1. Avoid 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.
    2. Take phosphate binders  as prescribed by your doctor. Examples of “binders” are calcium carbonate, “Tums”, Phoslo, Renagel, Amphojel/Alucap.             




6.  Potassium

  • High levels of potassium causes rapid heart beat. In serious cases, a heart attack may occur.
  • Control potassium by:
  1. Avoid high potassium foods: bananas, orange, kiwi, greens, broccoli, dried beans, “salt substitutes”, nuts. Soak potatoes for 4 hours or overnight. Limit tomatoes to 2 thin slices and milk to 1 cup.
  2. Do not skip dialysis.      

If you choose PERITONEAL DIALYSIS, potassium is usually not restricted.

7.  Follow a healthy diet

  • If you are diabetic, keep track of your carbohydrate intake.
  • Include variety of allowed foods…meat, fruit, vegetables, grains.
  • Choose “low fat foods”.
  • Portion control is important: 3 oz lean meat, ¾ plate grains/starch and vegetables, and fruit.

8.  Vitamins and Minerals

  • Vitamins made for patients with kidney disease may be prescribed. This has extra B-vitamins, no Vitamin A and some Vitamin C. Do not take over-the-counter multivitamins.
  • Iron supplements is needed to help increase red blood cells. Do not take your iron with your calcium.