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Kidney Diet Tips

April 18, 2014

Recycling Easter eggs for a protein boost

Deviled Eggs by DaVitaHappy Easter! It’s a wonderful time to celebrate life with family and friends and share a meal and fun activities. No doubt many of us are boiling, coloring and decorating eggs in preparation for Sunday’s Easter egg hunt. But what do you do with  the leftover hard-boiled  eggs?  Here are some kidney diet tips for recycling this tasty, high quality protein source. Read more…

February 17, 2012

Kidney Diet Tips: Finding Nutrients in Food

Where do you go for help when you want to find out the nutrients in your food? Knowing  protein, carbohydrate, fat, sodium, potassium, phosphorus and calcium content of food helps you make better decisions…and may influence how closely you stick to your kidney diet. There are several sources to consider.

Food Labels

The most obvious nutrient source is the food label, available on all packaged foods. Many grocery stores provide nutrient information for fresh produce, and soon fresh meat will require a nutrition label. The drawback is that potassium and phosphorus are optional on food labels and these are among the most important ones you need to know if you have chronic kidney disease or if you are on dialysis.

Food Composition Books

Any bookstore has a variety of food composition books that list nutrients in foods. Your dietitian most likely has a copy of “Bowes and Church’s Food Values of Portions Commonly Used”, a comprehensive nutrition data book with thousands of foods, now in its 18th edition.

Other food composition books vary in the nutrients included. A few on my shelf include “The Complete Book of Food Counts and Vitamin and Mineral Counter”, both by Corrine Netzer, and “The Calorie King Calorie, Carbohydrate and Fat Counter” from dietitian Alan Borushek. If you still prefer a book over an electronic reader or computer, these resource books are a good investment. Some are available to download an electronic version. An extensive list of food composition resources is available from the USDA National Agriculture Library.

On a smaller scale, you can order a pocket guide from the American Association of Kidney Patient. It gives potassium, phosphorus, sodium and protein values for many commonly eaten foods.

Nutrition Databases

As a USA taxpayer, you have invested in a nutrient database that is available to anyone without charge. You can download the USDA nutrient database directly to your computer desktop and easily look up foods. Almost all the foods in this database contain potassium and phosphorus values, and it is updated once a year. One drawback is you won’t find  brand name and restaurant foods, but many generic descriptions can be found. I keep the most recent version right on my computer desktop so it is easy to access and use.

Another quick look-up tool is the Food Analyzer on DaVita.com. Keep this tool in your favorites to easily look up thousands of food. This special database has a filter to only include items with potassium and phosphorus, a feature missing from many online food analysis tools.

Looking for more? DaVita Diet Helper is a no-charge online meal planner with already planned menus, a Food Analyzer and Nutrition Log. You can  track the foods you eat and instantly see nutrient totals, including calories, protein, carbohydrate, sugars, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, fiber, sodium, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. Your data is saved and automatically broken down into meals, snacks and daily total. There are other online meal planners, but Diet Helper has two features that are missing from other planners. It is based on protein, potassium, sodium and phosphorus instead of calories to provide customized meals for kidney diets; plus all the foods in the database contain values for all the above nutrients, unlike some programs that do not include potassium and phosphorus for all foods.

Nutrition Software Programs  

You can purchase nutrient software programs that have additional features like diet and exercise analysis, scoring systems, weight trackers, menu planners, and recipe features. These programs usually include the USDA database as well as generic, brand name and restaurant foods. There are many simple, easy to use programs, such as Dine Healthy, or a number of other software programs at the Nutrition and Food Web Archive. You can get more bells and whistles from larger programs like The Food Processor  or Compu Food Analysis. A Google search will reveal many options and information on nutrition software programs.

There’s an App for That

In addition to the above resources you can find many apps for your smartphone or other devices. These apps make it much easier to track your food intake throughout the day and to have real-time data to help make decisions about what to eat on your kidney diet. Kidney Diet offers an app secifically for people following a kidney diet with a focus on protein, potassium and phosphorus.  

Regardless of the source you use to find out the nutrients in your food, learning and sticking to a kidney diet is easier when you have tools and resources to help you choose the best foods for your health.


Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com


July 8, 2011

The reality of following your kidney diet: thoughts from the renal dietitian

I’ve noticed some confusion around what to include and exclude on the renal diet for dialysis and chronic kidney disease, especially when it comes to including some of the higher sodium, phosphorus or potassium containing foods. In today’s post I want to give you my thoughts on the realistic side of following a kidney diet and diet goals. Read more…

April 2, 2011

DaVita.com kidney diet recipes–a new look

DaVita has revamped davita.com with a great new look. You’ll find reorganization that makes it easier to find kidney education articles and other content to answer your questions about kidney-related issues. A new registration process makes it easier to access tools such as Diet Helper, an online kidney diet meal planner and nutrition log, Phosphorus Challenge, Food Analyzer and GFR Calculator. My DaVita is a new feature that lets you save recipes and articles and make friends with others in the DaVita community.

The new look for Kidney-Friendly Recipes includes more food photos and easy access to recipes for dialysis, diabetes and chronic kidney disease non-dialysis, along with diet related videos. Recipe categories have been reorganized into Appetizers & Snacks, Breakfast & Brunch, Breads, Salads & Salad Dressings, Beef, Lamb & Pork, Chicken & Turkey, Seafood, Pasta, Rice & Grains, Pizza & Sandwiches, Soups & Stews, Sauces & Seasonings, Vegetables, Beverages, and Desserts.

DaVita dietitians, who provide the renal recipes on davita.com, are featured with their insight on what’s important for dialysis patients to stay nourished and healthy. They provide suggestions to improve nutrition, learn about the dialysis diet, control phosphorus and potassium, and minimize sodium and fluid intake. They also talk about what is special about the dialysis centers and teams they work with each day.

The new website design makes it easy for you to sign up for Recipe Alerts, a monthly email newsletter with the latest kidney-friendly recipes. Looking for more information on the kidney diet and nutrition? You can easily search under Kidney Disease Education. Look for Diet and Nutrition where you will find articles on diet basics, lifestyle, regional menus, special occasions and the renal diet. Here’s a sampling of articles you may find of interest:

Dietary Protein and Chronic Kidney Disease

The Diabetic Dialysis Diet

Your Kidney Diet Prescription

Lowering Potassium in Potatoes

Alcohol and Chronic Kidney Disease

Supermarket Shopping Tips for Those with Kidney Disease

Top 15 Healthy Foods for People with Kidney Disease

Weight Loss Dieting When You’re on Dialysis

Check it out today and send us your feedback to let us know what you think and what you would like to see on davita.com in the future. DaVita’s resources are here to help improve your quality of life as you learn about and live with kidney disease.

December 2, 2010

KidneyDiet App: a new tool to help kidney patients decide what to eat

Have you ever wished you could instantly peak at the nutrient content of a food while making weekly menus, grocery shopping or eating out on a kidney diet? The latest tool for people with chronic kidney disease or on dialysis gives you the ability to do just that. KidneyDiet is an iPhone app that allows a quick, easy way to view thousands of foods from the USDA food database, including some of the major restaurant chains. The featured nutrients are focused on those most important in a kidney diet: protein, potassium, phosphorus and sodium. In addition to providing nutrient data, the KidneyDiet app highlights in red values that  may require caution for a kidney diet.

While this app is not a replacement for advice from your doctor or dietitian, it is a welcome new tool to help make the challenge of following a kidney diet easier. Future versions will include expanded nutrients and features to help track and analyze daily intake.

KidneyDiet was created by Pain Free Living, Inc. They provide health-related applications for mobile devices. Visit their website at www.KidneyDiet.com for more information.

July 16, 2010

Milk substitutes for kidney diets

Got milk? Americans are familiar with the milk ad campaign that shows up on television and in magazines. Celebrities sport a milk mustache that  promotes health benefits of drinking milk. For people with kidney disease on dialysis, milk restriction is advised. Milk is high in potassium, phosphorus and calcium-some of the nutrients that become out of balance when the kidneys are no longer working. Milk is often limited by chronic kidney disease patients who are on a lower protein diet. Read more…

November 6, 2009

Kidney dialysis night time treatment choice helps increase protein nutrition and decrease phosphorus

A recent study by DaVita dietitian Debbie Benner, MA, RD and collaborators reveals that changing to nocturnal dialysis may make it easier for dialysis patients to eat enough protein and keep phosphorus normal. A poster about the study was recently presented at the American Society of Nephology national meeting in San Diego. Read more…

April 6, 2009

8 tips for starting a low protein diet if you have chronic kidney disease

When you were first diagnosed with chronic kidney disease one of your first questions may have been ‘What can I do to save my kidneys so I don’t need dialysis?’ Blood pressure control, managing glucose for diabetics and adjustment in dietary protein intake can make a difference in kidney disease progression according to the research.

High Protein Foods

High Protein Foods

If you eat lots of protein and have CKD, you may want to make a few changes because a high protein diet is hard on your kidneys. On the other hand, a diet too low in protein is even worse for you. When you don’t eat enough protein, your muscles begin to break down. A blood protein called albumin begins to fall. People starting dialysis with low albumin levels are more likely to be hospitalized or die within the first 3 months compared to those with normal levels (4.0 mg/dL or greater). Following a low protein diet may buy some time before Read more…

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