It is important to follow your diet for the control of kidney disease. The food you eat will greatly affect the success of your treatment. One of the main functions of the kidney is to get rid of waste products and fluid. Since your kidneys have lost part or most of this ability, certain items in your diet must be controlled so that they or their waste products do not build up in your blood. These items include protein, sodium, potassium, phosphorus and fluid. However these are needed for healthy tissue. Hence, your diet includes these five nutrients, but in appropriate amounts.


Protein is the basic building block of living cells. Protein is needed for building and repair body tissues. There are two aspects to protein-restriction in the diet-quantity and quality.

  1. Quantity – The amount of protein should be enough A maintain vital body functions. On the other hand, the amount should not be too high, as the excess will result in increased wasate products in the blood.
  1. Quality – It is equally important that the correct type of protein is taken. There are two types: complete and incomplete.
  • Complete proteins are almost totally used by the body and very little waste is left. These proteins usually come from animal sources such as meat, poultry, fish, egg, milk and cheese.
  • Incomplete proteins are found in plant products such as dhals, grams, lentils, vegetables, nuts, wheat and rice. Ideally your diet should contain about 65-75% of complete protein to maintain muscle mass and prevent wasting.


Normal blood potassium is 3.8-4.9 mmol/dl. If your blood potassium goes too high, you must limit foods that are high in potassium.

Leaching potassium from vegetables:

– Cut vegetables into small pieces. Soak in water for 1-2 hours and discard the soaking water before cooking.

– Alternatively, cook vegetables in large quantity of water and discard the cooking water before cooking. Do not use a microwave or steamer to cook vegetables. More potassium can be removed if the vegetables are boiled.

  • Cooked fruit and vegetables are usually lower in potassium than raw ones.
  • Canned fruit is also lower potassium than raw ones but the juice must be discarded.


You may be advised by your doctor to reduce sodium intake if you have high blood pressure, Congestive heart failure or kidney disease. Some of the sodium in your diet occurs naturally in foods and the rest comes from salt added to foods when cooking or processing.

Simple steps in cutting down salt-

Here are some general rules to keep the sodium intake within the recommended guidelines-

– Cut down on convenience foods – many processed and convenience foods are high in sodium

– Limit the salt used in cooking and do not add salt at the table.

– Oct herbs and spices to enhance the flavour of foods in place of salt. For example, a dash of lime, garlic, Onions, vinegar, nutmeg, bay leaf, dry chilies, mustard seeds, pepper, turmeric, Coriander, cinnamon, etc.

– Avoid or limit the following foods, which contain a high amount of sodium: Bacon, ham, baked foods, salted nuts, canned foods, papads, bottled sauces, processed meats, pickles, cheese, dry fish, salt preserved meat, monosodium glutamate (MSG)

The amount of salt you can use will depend on your specific needs and may range from ‘A – , teaspoon per day. A word of caution about salt substitutes.

Salt substitutes may contain potassium salts which are contraindicated for patients with kidney problems. Consult your dietitian before using the product.


The amount of weight gain between dialysis sessions indicates whether you are following your fluid Allowance guidelines. Anything that is liquid at room temperature is considered a liquid ice-Cream, Ice cubes, and jelly.

The amount of fluid allowed in the diet varies from person to person and depends on your urine output. The usual guideline is 500m1+ the previous 24 hours urine output volume.

Tips for controlling your fluid intake:

  • Measure your fluid allowance every morning in a special jug. Every time you eat or drink a
  • fluid, empty the same amount from the jug. Once it is empty, you have finished the
  • day’s allowance.
  • Use small cups for beverages
  • Rinse your mouth with water, but do not swallow it.
  • Such on ice cubes rather than drink water
  • Suck on hard candy, mints or chewing gums to keep your mouth moist.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice in your ice cubes to quench your thirst.


Normal phosphorus level in blood is 2.7 — 4.5 mg/dl

Since phosphorus is found in so many foods, it is difficult to limit in the diet.

Foods high in phosphorus are:

Liver, fish bones, dairy products, nuts and seeds, cola drinks, beer, lentils, dhals, beans, whole grains, bran, Atta (whole wheat flour), oat bran, chocolate, baking powder.

In most cases, medications are used to help control phosphorus levels. Your phosphorus binding medication should be taken with meals, especially when you are eating meat or dairy products.


If you are underweight, you may need to add energy to your diet. The three nutrients which

supply energy (Calories) are protein, fat and carbohydrate. If there are not enough calories in the diet, body proteins may breakdown to provide energy, causing weight loss and muscle loss. You can add extra energy to your Diet by adding more fats/sugars to the foods you eat.

Ideas for adding calories to your food:

  • Use liberal amounts of oil in cooking.
  • Eat fried foods and snacks.
  • Fry/ stir fry your dishes of meat/fish /vegetables instead of steaming or boiling.
  • Use butter/margarine on your bread or allowance of potatoes.
  • Steam /toast your bread hot at that more butter / margarine will be absorbed. You can also, fry your bread with your allowance of egg/milk as French toast.
  • Serve vegetables with butter/margarine while hot.
  • For salads, enjoy lots of salad dressings, e.g., French dressing or mayonnaise.
  • Eat your cereals with cream and sugar.
  • Add sugar or glucose to your beverages.
  • Jam, marmalade or honey can be added as an extra spread on bread
  • Use full cream milk
  • Eat canned fruits in heavy syrup

Avoid sweet items if you have diabetes!

Other strategies to improve your food intake:

  • Divide your meal Ate smaller but more frequent ones if your appetite is poor.
  • Vary the color of foods served on your plate.
  • Use garnishes to make your meals tore appetizing.
  • Make meal times enjoyable. Eat with family or friends.
  • Motivate yourself to eat by remembering how much stronger you will feel.

Do not hesitate to ask the dietitian if there are foods you would love to have- she will tell you.

How to include them in your diet?

See your dietitian for an individualized meal plan.