Kidney Diet Tips


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Keeping Phosphorus under Control

Fall is suddenly here! This incredible time of year brings memories of time with family and friends, apple and pumpkin picking, and baking and cooking some classic fall favorites. For some, watching additional calories during fall events and holidays is a concern. However, if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD),  a bigger concern may be how to keep phosphorus under control without missing out on the fall treats and traditional meals you look forward to eating.

Phosphorus Sources

There are many components of the kidney diet, each with their own individual challenges. Phosphorus in particular presents many challenges and can be tricky to navigate. One reason is that it is naturally found in many different types of foods and added to others. Foods such as meats, poultry, dairy products, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grain products contain naturally occurring phosphorus. The body absorbs only about 40 to 60 percent of this natural phosphorus. In contrast, absorption of phosphorus from phosphate food additives is 90 to 100 percent. These additives are found in fast foods, deli meats, processed cheese, baked goods and some bottled teas, lemonades and sodas. Being able to identify the phosphorus sources in these various foods is the first step to help with phosphorus control.

Phosphorus on Food Labels

Unfortunately, nutrition labels do not usually list phosphorus. Therefore, the best way to determine if a food has added phosphorus is to look at the ingredient list on the product label. You can spot phosphate additives by looking for words with “phos.” Some of these include “monosodium phosphate,” “disodium phosphate,” “phosphoric acid,” “sodium aluminum phosphate,” “pyrophosphate,” “polyphosphates” and “calcium phosphate.”


With a little planning and helpful resources such as recipes from DaVita’s Today’s Kidney Diet cookbooks, a low-phosphorus menu can be created to help control phosphorus consumption. Try some of these fall favorites:

For more phosphorus control tips, read “High Phosphorus: Get the Facts” and “Kidney Diet Tips on Phosphate Additives – Your Great Phosphorus Saver (G.P.S.) Guide.”

Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

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.

Stephanie Suhai, MS, RD

Stephanie Suhai, MS, RD

Stephanie Suhai, MS, RD has been a dietitian for 10 years, working in acute care, sub-acute rehab, and long term care and now works in dialysis with both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients. She holds a passion for clinical nutrition research, counseling and education. In her free time she enjoys traveling, reading, staying active and spending time with her family.