Diet Information

Diet and kidney disease

Good nutrition is needed for good health. The food you eat is broken down in your stomach and intestines. Your blood picks up nutrients from the digested food and carries them to all your body cells. These cells take nutrients from your blood and put waste products (toxins) back into the blood. Healthy kidneys work around the clock to remove this waste from your blood and then it is removed from your body in your urine. Other waste products are removed in bowel movements. As kidney disease worsens, less waste is removed from your blood and toxins build up causing the symptoms of kidney disease. At Nephrology Associates, our multi-disciplinary team will provide you with a diet specific to your needs. A diet for patients with kidney disease (Renal Diet) may consist of monitoring fluid intake and low amounts of potassium, phosphorus, and sodium. Healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels are very important if you have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Some CKD patients also need to adjust the amount of protein in their diet as well. Simple blood and urine tests will be ordered on a regular basis to monitor the levels of potassium, phosphorus, sodium, cholesterol, and protein in your body.

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What do I need to know about fluids?

Healthy kidneys remove fluids from what you eat and drink and the fluid leaves your body in your urine. If your kidney disease worsens, you may need to limit how much fluid you put into your body from liquids and foods that contain water. This includes soups, many fruits and vegetables and anything that becomes liquid at room temperature (ice, ice cream, jello, etc.)

What do I need to know about potassium?

Potassium is a mineral found in many foods – especially milk, fruits and vegetables. Potassium helps to regulate your heart beat. Healthy kidneys keep the right amount of potassium in your blood. In CKD, potassium levels can rise and affect your heartbeat causing irregular beats. Very high potassium levels can be very dangerous to your heart, and can even cause death if left untreated.

What do I need to know about sodium?

Sodium is a part of salt. Sodium is found in many canned, packaged, processed and “fast” foods. It is also found in many condiments, seasonings and meats. Healthy kidneys filter sodium out of the body and into the urine. In CKD the kidneys cannot filter as well and the sodium stays in your body. Eating less sodium helps lower blood pressure and may slow the progression of your kidney disease.

What do I need to know about cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in your blood. Cholesterol is produced by your liver and necessary for body functions. We also get cholesterol from eating meats and animal food products. There is no cholesterol in fruit or vegetables. Too much cholesterol in your blood can lead to heart and blood vessel disease, heart attacks and stroke. Diets high in “saturated”, and “hydrogenated” fats can also raise cholesterol levels Diet and exercise help to lower cholesterol levels over time, but if necessary, your healthcare provider will prescribe medication to begin to lower your cholesterol levels if they are very high.

What do I need to know about protein?

Protein, which is made from chains of amino acids, is found in many foods we eat. Protein helps you maintain muscle, repair tissue, resist infection and recover from surgery. Healthy kidneys filter the waste products that form after the protein is used in the body and urine removes this waste from our bodies. In CKD, damaged kidneys do not remove the protein waste (urea) and it can build up in the blood. By reviewing your lab tests, your healthcare providers will be able to tell you how much protein you should be eating, based on your stage of kidney disease and body size.