Chronic Kidney Disease Chapter 15

Food for CKD


A CKD Diet

Changing your diet and learning what foods it’s best to eat, and in what amounts, is one of the trickiest parts of CKD treatment. That’s why it’s a very good idea to sit down with a registered dietitian to plan meals that you like and that provide the right types of nutrition, while avoiding foods that can cause problems.

  • Protein is necessary in everyone’s diet to maintain all the tissues of the body. Eating too much protein, however, can worsen CKD because proteins break down into byproducts that must be eliminated by the kidneys. (People on dialysis, however, need to eat a high-protein diet.) A dietitian can tell you how many grams of protein you should eat per day and help you to figure out how to reduce any excess consumption.

  • Fats provide energy and contain important vitamins. Some fats are healthier than others, though. Avoid trans fats (hydrogenated vegetable oils), found in commercial baked goods, many fried fast foods, and some snack foods such as chips. Use canola oil and olive oil whenever possible.

  • Salt is harmful if you eat too much because it causes your body to retain water, raising your blood pressure and straining your heart and kidneys. One way to avoid eating too much salt is to steer clear of canned and processed foods, which often contain large amounts of sodium. Cured foods like ham and pickles are very salty, too. Always check the nutrition labels on the food you buy, and keep your sodium intake below 1,500 mg/day.

  • Potassium is found in many fruits and vegetables, including bananas, avocados, melons, and potatoes. If your blood tests reveal your potassium level is too high, talk with your dietitian about alternatives to high-potassium foods.

  • Phosphorous, at high levels, can pull calcium from your bones and make your skin itch. Phosphorous is found in dairy products, dried beans, peas, cola, canned iced tea and lemonade, and nuts (including peanuts). Your dietitian can tell you how much phosphorous you should eat every day. At more advanced stages of CKD, it may be necessary to take a phosphorous-binding medication to control your phosphorous level.


The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.