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Diet for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Diet for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

This article provides a diet for chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients who must start a special diet plan to take extra care of their kidneys.
Rutuja Jathar
Last Updated: Mar 1, 2018
Chronic kidney disease can be simply defined as a a functional break down of kidneys. There are many causes of this disorder. With the help of routine check ups and a healthy diet, it can be controlled and total kidney failure can be avoided. Therefore, this article gives you a diet for chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Diabetes, high blood pressure, and aging kidneys (at the age of 75 and above) are the main causes of stages 1-3 of chronic kidney disease, also known as CKD. Certain diseases, like polycystic kidney disease, glomerulonephritis, the narrowing of the renal artery (stenosis), repeated kidney infections, and haemolytic-uremic syndrome can cause stages 4-5, which are more severe. To avoid the complications, routine checkups and partaking a nutritious diet plays an important role. The word 'chronic' scares us all. But, it simply means 'ongoing or continuing' and not as some may think to be 'severe'. Most of the patients who are diagnosed with CKD have only a moderate or mild malfunctioning of the kidneys. But that doesn't mean that one should ignore the symptoms and relax. Proper medication and maintenance of healthy lifestyle must be followed to keep the disease under control.

In CKD, kidney fails to remove the waste material from the body. Hence avoiding further damage becomes urgently necessary. Normally, people with CKD are recommended to have small regular meals, do energy-increasing physical activities, and eat a low calorie diet (food that is low in protein, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus counts). Some patients are advised to have less intake of fluids.

A daily diet minimizing the intake of the following mineral ingredients should be strictly maintained:


Around 90% of the potassium consumed through our diet is removed by the kidney. The normal level of potassium intake is 3.5-5.0 mEq/L ,so anything higher than that must be avoided. But in the patients having stage 5 CKD, it becomes difficult to remove the potassium from the body, as the kidney loses its functions altogether. So, controlling potassium is very important. Mostly, we consume potassium through milk, yogurt; fruits, like avocado, kiwis, oranges, papayas, banana, cantaloupe; legumes, nuts, vegetables, like beans, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach and fellow leafy vegetables, sweet potato, and animal protein. Potassium-based salt products, winter vegetable juices, and squash should also be strictly avoided.


It is synonumous with this disorder. Higher the salt intake, higher the risk of the CKD, high blood pressure and heart disease. Hence, a large amount of sodium intake must be restricted. Canned food, pickles, smoked meat, some frozen foods, processed cheese, packed chips, junk food, and crackers must also be avoided. Develop a habit of reading the labels to get to know the level of sodium in the products we are consuming. Less than 5 mg sodium per serving is sufficient to stay healthy.


The limit on protein intake is 0.75g per kilogram of one's total body weight, except for those suffering from hemodialysis. One must consume enough protein to keep oneself healthy but not in excess. Mainly meat, fish, and dairy products are the sources of protein. Edibles such as eggs, beef, cheese, bran breads, nuts, and vegetable also contain a high amount of protein.


Phosphorus consumption for normal people as well as for people with CKD non-dialysis is 2.7 to 4.6 mg/dL. For CKD dialysis patients, the target range is 3.5 to 5.5 mg/dL. Anything more than that must be reduced. Poor maintenance of phosphorus can lead to not only total kidney failure but also to bone diseases and heart troubles. Dairy products, nuts, and beans (the main sources of phosphorus) and drinks and beverages like cocoa, cold drinks, and beer must be avoided.


Consumption of fluids is essential for normal people, but for a patient of CKD, fluid intake must be watched. More than 48 fl oz (1.4 L) of fluids a day must be avoided. What are fluids? Edible things that are liquid at room temperature are known as fluids, e.g., soups, ice creams, Jell-O, etc. Over-consumption of such fluids can increase the level of phosphorus. Some fruits, like apples, orange, grapes; and vegetables like lettuce also contain a lot of water. So, avoid such fruits.

Now, what must one eat with such restrictions? Following are some useful tips to follow:
  • Vegetables, like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bean sprouts, cucumber, lettuce, asparagus, mustard greens, green beans, eggplant; white rice, corn cereals, popcorn, and fish like tuna, catfish, swordfish, codfish, mahi fish should be consumed.
  • Use phosphorus binders such as calcium acetate (PhosLo), calcium carbonate (Caltrate and Tums), or sevelamer hydrochloride (Renagel) when necessary, but with proper prescription from your doctor.
  • Never change any food pattern or your diet program without proper consultation with your doctor.
  • It's important to have routine medical checkups and keeping a track of the recent changes that occur.
  • Proper medication and exercise is a must.
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption must be reduced, and preferably completely avoided.
  • No meals should be skipped. Avoid taking huge meals at a time and divide meals into a 4-times a day pattern.
  • Lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels must be maintained and observed time to time.
  • Last and most important, is keeping your mind healthy and motivated, which has the greatest power to cure any disease.
At the end I would say, execution of a proper diet plan is very essential. More than that, stay positive.

Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
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