Kidney Diet Tips

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Why is sodium limited in the dialysis diet?

salt shakerFoods high in sodium can make you very thirsty. Excess sodium may also increase blood pressure and contribute to fluid retention. For people on dialysis these are two reasons sodium is limited in the dialysis diet. For those with kidney failure, fluids are limited in their diets. Because kidneys are no longer able to remove fluids from the body, doctors will recommend how much fluid can be in the dialysis diet. In order to stick to the fluid restriction, sodium is limited to also limit thirst. Too much sodium has also been shown to increase blood pressure. Since most people with kidney disease have to take blood pressure medicine, limiting sodium is also recommended to help control blood pressure. Fluid overload related to eating too much sodium can make dialysis treatments uncomfortable because when too much fluid is attempted to be removed, blood pressure can drop causing cramps and an overall washed out feeling.   Examples of high sodium foods to limit or avoid are frozen dinners; cured or processed meats, like ham, bologna, hot dogs, bacon and sausage; processed cheese; instant or canned soups; foods in a brine like pickles and olives; foods with salt on top, like chips, pretzels and crackers; and commercial rice and pasta mixes.

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.