Kidney Diet Tips

#1 Reason To See A Dietitian When You Have Chronic Kidney Disease

March 9th is Registered Dietitian Day. Read on to learn why a dietitian is so important for people with kidney disease.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is confusing, diets are confusing, the media is confusing, anything that involves changing your nutrition habits for CKD is confusing! Let’s face it, we are bombarded with information on a daily basis telling us what is good for us and what is bad for us. How do we know who to trust? It is nearly impossible to figure it out on our own so why not trust an expert? Well, who is an expert?

One of the experts is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), who specializes in CKD. RDNs have extensive education and experience in working with people with CKD. They partner with people who have CKD and their physicians to develop a nutrition plan that works best for their individual needs.

Here is the biggest reason to see a dietitian who specializes in kidney care. Studies show that some people with CKD who work with an RDN and adopt the recommended nutrition changes are able to prolong or even prevent ever going on dialysis. Yes, that’s right—it is possible to slow down or prevent further CKD progression. What we eat and drink affects the kidneys; if we change our nutrition habits and lifestyle choices to positively affect the kidneys—that may help prolong the function of the kidneys. RDNs can have a huge impact on the quality of life of people with CKD and early intervention is key.¹

Where do you start? Talk to your kidney doctor to see if you might benefit from nutrition counseling with an RDN. Your kidney doctor may refer you to an RDN who specializes in CKD. You may also consider checking with your insurance provider to see if RDN services are covered. Another option is to attend a free Kidney Smart® class. Kidney Smart is a great introduction to kidney basics and how food choices affect the kidneys.

Partner with your RDN. Consider asking your RDN these 5 questions to help better serve you during your time together.

  1. What can I eat instead of just what can’t I eat?
  2. How many appointments do I need with you?
  3. Will this nutrition plan last forever?
  4. Why is food so important with CKD?
  5. I have other health issues. How is this all going to work?


Chronic Kidney Disease Nutrition Management Module 1: Chronic Kidney Disease Basics. Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. October, 25, 2011.

Kara Hansen

Kara has been a dietitian for over 11 years, spending her entire career with DaVita. She enjoys family time, cooking, soccer, hiking and traveling.