Kidney Diet Tips

Lower Potassium and Phosphorus Dairy Alternatives

Milk and other dairy products including yogurt and cheese, contain potassium and phosphorus. A person with chronic kidney disease (CKD) may need to limit their intake of these minerals. Milk and dairy alternatives can be a tasty replacement to a meal or recipe to reduce the phosphorus and potassium content.

Minerals in Milk Alternatives

This chart highlights phosphorus, potassium and sodium content of some dairy products. For comparison, alternatives to milk and cheese are also listed. While the dairy alternatives do contain less phosphorus and potassium, some alternatives like dairy-free cheese may contain more sodium.

Milk and Dairy Products Serving Size Phosphorus (mg) Potassium (mg) Sodium (mg)
2% milk 1/2 cup 137 mg 223 mg 72 mg
Low fat yogurt 1/2 cup 113 mg 218 mg 72 mg
Low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded 1 ounce 115 mg 28 mg 147 mg
Milk and Dairy Alternatives Serving Size Phosphorus Potassium Sodium
Almond Milk 1/2 cup 10 mg 60 mg 75 mg
Rice Milk 1/2 cup 67 mg 32 mg 47 mg
Soy Milk 1/2 cup 40 mg 150 mg 46 mg
Soy Yogurt, plain 1/2 cup *not available *not available 45 mg
Dairy-free cheese, mozzarella shreds ** 1 ounce 30 mg 30 mg 280 mg

*Phosphorus and potassium content was not available from manufacturer. Some manufacturers choose to provide phosphorus and potassium content, but currently this information in not required to be listed on the food label.

**Information obtained from Daiya Consumer Experience Team and Based on roughly 1 ounce of Daiya® dairy-free mozzarella shreds.

Information for all other products obtained from the USDA Food Composition Databases.


Cow’s milk is higher in phosphorus and potassium than almond, rice or soy milk. Substituting almond milk for 2% cow’s milk reduces phosphorus by 127 mg and potassium by 163 mg per 1/2 cup. Additionally, milk provides calcium. Some milk alternatives have added calcium and are even higher in calcium than milk. Your doctor or dietitian may ask you to closely watch calcium intake. Check the calcium content and ingredients on all milk alternatives.

Almond, rice and soy milk are available at most grocery stores. Check out these recipes to make your own:

 Homemade Almond Milk

 Homemade Rice Milk


Dairy-free cheese products are another option. These products contain less phosphorus and potassium. However, the dairy-free cheese is not a low-sodium option. As shown in the chart, dairy-free cheese contains 133 mg more sodium per ounce. Work with your dietitian to determine which products are acceptable on your kidney diet.

Check out this DaVita recipe for our take on dairy-free cheese sauce:

 Dairy-Free Cheesy Sauce


Soy yogurt is available in some grocery stores. Potassium and phosphorus content of the soy yogurt was not available from the manufacturer and is not required to be included on the food label. However, upon review of a popular version of soy yogurt, phosphorus-containing ingredients were found in the ingredients list.

Dairy alternatives can spruce up recipes without adding phosphorus and potassium. It is important to read the food label or check with your dietitian as some dairy alternatives may be high in sodium. While watching phosphorus and potassium content can feel difficult, dairy alternatives can provide a tasty option when added to cereal or other recipes.

Check out a few more DaVita recipes that include dairy alternatives:

 High Protein Berry Shake

 Beach Boy Omelet

 Warm Bread Pudding

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Haley Justus, RD, LDN

Haley Justus, RD, LDN

Haley Justus is a registered dietitian who resides in the mountains of western North Carolina. She has been a dietitian for 3 years and enjoys helping her dialysis patients make small changes to enjoy life-long benefits of health. In her free time, Haley enjoys hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband and two dogs.