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Kidney Diet Tips

September 22, 2014

Study findings: Good glucose and blood pressure control saves your kidneys

If you’ve taken a Risk Quiz to determine your risk for kidney disease, you’ve probably already made the connection between kidney disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Many research studies are focused on finding links between these health issues and what makes a difference in preventing long-term complications
of diabetes like kidney disease.

You may be interested in a recent report from Read more…

June 14, 2013

Kidney Diet Tip: Please Pass Over the Salt

 The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend all people reduce sodium to 2,300 mg or less. For African Americans of any age, people who are 51 and older, or those with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, the sodium recommendation is 1,500 mg or less. Meeting these  low-sodium diet guidelines would be easier to monitor if you bought only fresh, whole foods and prepared them at home. In current times, that just doesn’t seem so doable. Enjoying the convenience of packaged foods and prepared meals as well as the pleasure of eating out at a restaurant mean you really don’t know how much sodium is in the food you consume.

One of the easiest ways to cut down on sodium intake is to pass up using table salt. It may take some getting used to, especially if it’s been a lifelong habit to add salt to foods—sometimes even without tasting first. Read more…

March 14, 2013

World Kidney Day is March 14

World Kidney Day is a time to recognize the extent of kidney disease throughout the world, learn about risk factors and screening for kidney disease and educate ourselves on kidney disease management. Kidney disease is the 8th leading cause of death and over 26 million Americans, or 1 in 10 people over age 20,  have  kidney disease. Many do not even know they are at risk. Some of the questions to ask yourself to measure your risk include:

  • Do I have high blood pressure?
  • Do I have diabetes or am I at risk for developing diabetes?
  • Is there a history of cardiovascular disease in my family or have I been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease?
  • Does anyone in my family have kidney disease?
  • Do I have a history of kidney damage (kidney infections, kidney stones, past kidney trauma or injury,etc.)
  • Am I in a minority group that is at higher risk for kidney disease? (African American, Asian American, Hispanic Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans)
  • Am I over the age of 55?
  • Do I already have a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease?

If you answered yes to the above questions you are at risk for kidney disease. Early screening and treatment can alert you so you can educate yourself and take action to preserve your kidneys.

Go to DaVita.com to take the risk quiz and learn more about kidney disease. For kidney  screenings, you can contact The Kidney TRUST™,  an organization aimed at increasing awareness of kidney disease through public education and testing programs.

Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com


February 27, 2013

Kidney Diet Tips on Phosphate Additives – Your Great Phosphorus Saver (G.P.S.) Guide

DaVita Dietitian Julia from Ohio is today’s guest blogger with some great kidney diet tips about phosphorus.

Phosphorus by the Numbers

  • 250 mg to 1,000 mg of phosphorus is the amount removed in a dialysis treatment
  • 800 mg to 1000 mg of phosphorus per day is the typical daily target for a low phosphorus kidneydiet
  • 85% of fast food entrees and side dishes contain phosphate additives
  • 28% to 100% – a recent review of frozen chicken products revealed that the frozen chicken contained 28% to 100% more phosphorus than unenhanced fresh or frozen chicken.
  • 40% to 60% of the phosphorus that NATURALLY occurs in foods is absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • 90% to 100% of the phosphorus that is ADDED to foods, as a food additive, is absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • 100% of dialysis patients will benefit from avoiding foods with phosphate additives!

Just knowing that because your kidneys cannot remove phosphorus you need to avoid phosphate additives is the first step.  Knowing where these additives are found and how to avoid them is the all important next step.  Think of this article as your G.P.S. for phosphorus additives (G.P.S. – “great phosphorus saver”). Read more…

February 7, 2013

The Obesity Paradox and Kidney Disease

You may have heard or read a recent news report on the benefit of being overweight or obese.

The January 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association published findings from an analysis of data from 97 research studies to determine risk of death based on body mass index (BMI). Surprisingly, the results show that people who are overweight (BMI 25-<30 kg/m2) and mildly obese (Grade 1 obesity, BMI 30-<35 kg/m2) had a lower risk of death compared to people with normal BMI (18.5-<25 kg/m2). This finding exists in people with heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.

The obesity paradox is not new to the kidney care community. In 2003 Dr. Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh proposed the term reverse epidemiology to describe a protective survival benefit observed in hemodialysis and heart failure patients who were overweight and mildly obese. Higher cholesterol levels were also associated with reverse epidemiology.

So does this mean your weight does not matter when you have kidney or heart disease? Here’s some food for thought before you abandon your current eating plan. Read more…

July 18, 2011

Staying on track with your kidney or dialysis diet: Match your mind set

Last time I blogged about the kidney diet reality and goals. This week is all about how your mind set helps you stay on track. 

There are different mind sets that help people stay on track with their kidney diet meal plan. For some of you, it is ‘all or nothing’. You do best with a list of foods to eat and a list of foods to avoid to manage protein, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and fluid.  Plain and simple, no gray areas and fewer decisions to make.

For others, you prefer ‘following the numbers’ and tracking what you eat. For example if your goal is 2000 mg potassium a day, you may learn to work in some high potassium foods, even though it  means limiting how much or how often, as long as your daily potassium total stays under 2000 mg. The Nutrition Log in DaVita Diet Helper is a great tracking tool for you to show you how much protein, potassium, sodium and phosphorus in the foods you eat.

Following preplanned menus is another way to stay on track if you prefer the ‘tell me exactly what to eat’ mindset. Knowing what to eat and not worrying about the numbers is much easier for some kidney patients. You will find the preplanned meals in DaVita Diet Helper useful because you don’t have to do any calculating to meet your diet goals. All the planning is done; you simply select the meals that are most appealing to you. After following these meals you learn which foods can be included and which ones are limited, making it easier to plan your own meals over time.

Another mind set is ‘what I don’t know can’t hurt me’. If you think this way, you may not be ready to accept or deal with the changes that will keep you healthier. By learning more about your chronic kidney disease or dialysis, focusing on foods that are good for kidney patients, and incorporating new recipes you like, you can progress to a better place and start making changes that will help you feel better and manage your kidney disease in a healthier way. For you, the Kidney-friendly Recipe section of DaVita.com is a good place to start. I also recommend a visit to the Diet and Nutrition section to find articles that will help your better understand your kidney diet.

Many of us are a combination of all the mindsets described, and what works may vary or change depending on your circumstances. There are many resources and tools to help kidney patients like you learn more and incorporate the kidney diet into  your life. If you feel alone, reach out to others dealing with diet issues by joining the DaVita discussion forums. The subforum ‘Diet/Nutrition’ is a place to post questions, read about  how people with kidney disease have figured out the diet, and receive help from the kidney community.

What’s your mindset that helps you stay on track?

Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com

September 16, 2010

How much salt do you use?

If you have kidney disease or are at risk one question to ask yourself is “How much salt do you add in cooking or at the table?” Try to evaluate by measuring all the salt you use in cooking or at the table for 2 to 3 days. Use the chart below to estimate added salt and the effect of reducing it. Read more…

August 16, 2010

Why some high sodium foods don’t taste salty

Sometimes I look at the label on a food after eating it and discover the sodium content is much higher than expected. The lesson learned is to read the label before eating or better yet, before buying foods.

But why is it that some foods that are really high in sodium don’t taste salty? For example, many people get a surprising amount of sodium from the bread products. One slice (1 oz) of white bread averages 150 mg sodium. A couple slices of toast at breakfast, a sandwich at lunch and a couple of dinner rolls easily adds up to 900 mg of sodium. A bakery size bagel and submarine sandwich roll provide 1170 mg sodium—before anything is added! Read more…

July 9, 2010

Best cereal choices for the kidney diet

Today I received a question about the best cereals for a person in stage 3 chronic kidney disease (CKD) to eat. Instead of sending my answer to only one person I thought I would share it with all of you as well.

Some good hot cereal choices include cream of wheat, Malt-o-Meal, grits, and even oatmeal a few times a week. (Stick with the cook and serve cereals instead of the higher sodium instant ones.) Many diet guides place oatmeal in the limit or avoid list because it does contain more phosphorus than the other hot cereals listed.

For ready-to-eat cereals look on the Nutrition Facts label and select the brands lowest in sodium and phosphorus. Lower sodium choices help with blood pressure control. Many cereals give the % Daily Value for phosphorus rather than milligrams. Try to go with those containing 10% DV or less. In general, cereals with added nuts or whole grain tend to have higher amounts of phosphorus.

Read more…

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