Kidney Diet Tips

Kidney dialysis night time treatment choice helps increase protein nutrition and decrease phosphorus

A recent study by DaVita dietitian Debbie Benner, MA, RD and collaborators reveals that changing to nocturnal dialysis may make it easier for dialysis patients to eat enough protein and keep phosphorus normal. A poster about the study was recently presented at the American Society of Nephology national meeting in San Diego.

Patients who dialyzed during the night for a longer time (6 to 8 hours) were shown to have higher albumin levels and phosphorus in the normal range compared to patients on traditional in-center dialysis (usually 4 hour treatment time).

High phosphorus and poor nutrition are two very strong predictors of hospitalization and increased chance of dying if you have kidney disease. Kidney patients are challenged to keep phosphorus levels down while eating enough protein to prevent malnutrition.  Dialysis patients  need more protein that others–1.2 to 1.3 grams/kg compared to 0.8 gm/kg for the average healthy person. For example a healthy person who weighs 150 pounds (68 kg) requires approxiamately 55 grams protein; a person on dialysis requires 82-88 grams of protein.

The dilemma here is that good sources of high quality protein also contain phosphorus; protein and phosphorus go hand in hand. Dietitians often advise patients to limit or avoid high protein foods with the greatest amount of phosphorus–milk, yogurt, milk shakes, legumes, nuts, peanut butter. The recommended high quality protein foods include lean red meats, poultry, fish and seafood, eggs and cottage cheese. Even with these changes phosphorus control may be quite difficult requiring phosphorus binding medicines, a low phosphorus diet and avoiding processed foods containing phosphate additives.

If you are looking for ways to eat better and keep a normal phosphorus learn more about how nocturnal dialysis works and how it can help you be healthier.

Kidney diet resources from

Review and rate recipes

Discussion Forums

Monthly Recipe Alerts

DaVita Diet Helper

Sara Colman, RDN, CDCES

Sara Colman, RDN, CDCES

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 30 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 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.