Kidney Diet Tips

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Daily Value for Potassium and Kidney Diets

The Daily Value (DV) on food labels was established for the general public to help determine if a food is a high or low source of specific nutrients.

Bananas

For people with healthy kidneys a high potassium intake is considered healthy. The daily goal is to consume enough high potassium foods to provide at least 3500 mg potassium.

Once the kidneys can no longer remove potassium (usually in later stage 4 and stage 5 CKD), and blood potassium values rise above normal (3.5-5.0 mEq/L) a lower potassium diet is usually prescribed.

Some but not all foods include potassium on the Nutrition Facts Label. An understanding of what to look for can help make grocery shopping easier. Here’s a general potassium DV guideline to help interpret the numbers when reading food labels:

  • Up to 4 % DV = 0-140 mg, low potassium
  • Up to 7 % DV = 141-250 mg, medium potassium
  • Up to 14% DV = 251-500 mg, high potassium
  • Over 20% DV = 700 mg or more, very high potassium

Each person has individual requirements for potassium depending on kidney function, lab values, appetite and type of dialysis treatment. It’s a good idea for people with chronic kidney disease to always check with their kidney care team rather than guess about their diet requirements for potassium.

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 20 years experience working with people with diabetes and kidney disease. She is co-author of the popular kidney cookbook "Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook". Sara is currently the Manager of Kidney Care Nutrition for DaVita. She analyzes recipes and creates content, resources and tools for the kidney community. In her spare time Sara loves to spend time with her young grandson, including fun times together in her kitchen.