Kidney Diet Tips

Kidney-Friendly Diet: Can it Slow Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease?

Have you heard? Making changes within your diet can help slow the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD). You may have some confusion about what to eat on a kidney-friendly diet. Today we want to give you some tips that may help delay the progression of CKD. Plus, we want to tell you about an exciting, new DaVita® nutrition product that can help with confusion about your  kidney diet.

Diet Tips to Help Slow the Progression of CKD

1. Limit salt: Sodium helps regulate blood pressure and volume, joins impulses for nerve function and muscle contraction, and helps keep normal acid-base balance of blood and body fluids. Although sodium is important, as kidneys decrease in function they are not able to get rid of the excess sodium and fluid from your body. As sodium and fluid buildup in your tissues and bloodstream, your blood pressure increases and you feel uncomfortable. Try limiting sodium to less than 2,000 mg per day to help your kidneys.1

2. Decrease red meat: Instead of eating red meat on a regular basis, eat more lean animal protein such as chicken and turkey, seafood or plant-based proteins. One study found that replacing one serving of red meat with other food sources of protein was associated with a significant decrease in risk of progressing to end stage renal disease.2

3. Increase variety of fruit and vegetables: Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables provides vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that benefit your health. If you have high potassium levels learn more about low potassium fruit and vegetables that you can eat. This will help limit potassium intake while still eating a healthy amount of fruit and vegetables each day.3

A kidney-friendly diet can be confusing, and finding a dietitian that specializes in renal nutrition can be helpful. Research has shown that individuals with CKD who receive nutrition counseling from a registered dietitian have improved health outcomes with delaying the progression of kidney disease, decrease risk of death, and better management of other health conditions 4, 6. To find a dietitian ask your kidney doctor for a referral. You can also contact your local hospital to ask about dietitian services provided. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website,, has a tool to search for a dietitian who specializes in renal nutrition.


  1. E. J. McMahon, J. D. Bauer, C. M. Hawley, N. M. Isbel, M. Stowasser, D. W. Johnson, K. L. Campbell. A Randomized Trial of Dietary Sodium Restriction in CKD. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2013; DOI: 10.1681/ASN.2013030285
  2. Shu Ning Wai, MNutrDiet, Jaimon T. Kelly, MNutrDiet, David W. Johnson, PhD, Katrina L. Campbell, PhD. Dietary Patterns and Clinical Outcomes in Chronic Kidney Disease: The CKD.QLD Nutrition Study. 5 October 2016; DOI:
  3. Quan-Lan Jasmine Lew, Tazeen Hasan Jafar, Hiromi Wai Ling Koh, Aizhen Jin‖, Khuan Yew Chow, Jian-Min Yuan and Woon-Puay Koh. Red Meat Intake and Risk of ESRD. JASN; 14 July 2016. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2016030248
  4. USRDS: Pre-dialysis dietitian care & survival during the first year on dialysis: N = 156,440 CKD patients >20 years old. Initiated hemodialysis between June 2005 and June 2007.
  5. Nutrition in Renal Disease, Mark Findlay, Christopher Isles:
  6. Clin Nutr. 2008 Aug;27(4):537-44. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2008.05.002. Epub 2008 Jun 26. The impact of nutrition intervention on quality of life in pre-dialysis chronic kidney disease patients. Campbell KL1, Ash S, Bauer JD.

Sara Pratt, MA, RDN

Sara Pratt is a Chronic Kidney Disease Dietitian with DaVita. Sara has been a dietitian for the past 7 years and is passionate about providing care to her patients. On the weekends you will find her enjoying the Colorado lifestyle by hiking or exploring new mountain towns every summer and skiing in the winter.