The Kidney Diet


What you eat is a big part of how you live. Your quality of life is dependent on the way you treat your body. This is especially true if you are battling Kidney Disease. Our bodies need a good balance of calories (protein, carbohydrates, and fats), electrolytes, phosphorus, calcium, and many other vitamins and minerals to perform. Kidney Disease can affect the way our bodies process and produce these vital building blocks. Let’s look at the parts of our diet, and how we can better understand their roles within our bodies. Need to track your diet? Consider using the Davita diet helper for help and guidance.

What are Proteins
Proteins are the building blocks of every cell in your body. They can also be used to supply energy if needed. Proteins can have a negative impact on your kidneys when they are not functioning well. Therefore, less protein may be suggested by your care team.
Main sources of protein include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, beans and nuts. Monitoring the amount of protein in the foods you enjoy may be necessary to maintain kidney function.

What are Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are one of the main energy sources for our bodies. Carbohydrates can also raise your blood sugar, so it is important to monitor the type and amount you consume. Main sources of carbohydrates are bread, rolls, tortilla, rice, pasta, potato, and corn. Sugars are a form of carbohydrate as well, and it may be advisable to limit their intake in-order to control blood sugar. Examples of these are cookies, cakes, candy, ice cream, milk, and fruit juice.

What are Fats
Dietary fats provide energy for your body to function. The last of the key calorie-based nutrients we consume in our diets. But just like anything else, too much of a good thing, isn’t good. We must monitor the types of fat we consume and how much. The Good and the bad. Good fats are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and omega-3 fatty acids. “Good” fats, or fats our body can use more effectively are liquid at room temperature They can be found in: olive oil, flaxseed, canola, safflower oil, peanut oil and corn oil.
“Bad” fats, or fats to watch, are trans fats and saturated fats. How to tell them apart; saturated fats and trans fats are solid at room temperature. They can be found in: beef fat, pork fat, butter, shortening and stick margarine.

Nutrients and Minerals

  • Sodium is an electrolyte and helps to maintains fluid balance in the body. Too much sodium can raise your blood pressure and cause you to retain fluids. For people with kidney disease, extra sodium and fluid can build up in your body, which can affect your heart and lungs. Make sure to discuss with your care team just how much sodium you need and any foods you should avoid.

  • Potassium is also an electrolyte and with the help of sodium, potassium also maintains fluid balance in the body. These two electrolytes work together to regulate fluid both inside and outside of your cells. If your kidneys are not working well, potassium levels in your blood can rise. High potassium levels affect your heart rhythm, so your new diet may include a potassium limit.

  • Phosphorus is found in your bones. Poor kidney function can cause phosphorus levels to rise in your blood. This causes you bones to release calcium, thus making your bones brittle and weak. If your kidneys are not functioning well, it may be harder to remove excess phosphorus from your blood. For that reason, a lower phosphorus diet may be needed.

  • Calcium is also found in your bones. A high phosphorus level in your body decreases the availability of calcium for your bones. The right amount of calcium and phosphorus balance is necessary when you are dealing with kidney problems.

  • Vitamins and Minerals (The B’s, C’s, and D’s along with iron and zinc). Unfortunately, our bodies do not produce vitamins or minerals. We must rely on our diets to take in these nutrients. When our kidneys aren’t working right we may need to supplement our diets. Talk to your care team about what your body may be missing.

Your diet questions can be answered here at Iowa Kidney Physicians. We even have Advanced care Practioners who can sit down and navigate your individual diets needs with you. For an appointment please contact our office today.