Kidney Diet Tips

Why is milk limited in the dialysis diet?

milkThe commercials and magazine adds featuring people with milk mustaches are enough to convince us that milk is essential to building a strong body. It’s high in protein and calcium—good for the muscles and bones. So why is milk limited to only 1/2 cup a day on most renal diets (or totally restricted for some kidney patients)???

Unfortunately protein and calcium are not the only things that are high in milk. Potassium content is 365 mg for an 8-ounce glass of milk. Phosphorus is 230 mg per cup; and both are higher if you buy the protein-fortified or nonfat milk solids-added milk. For a person on dialysis trying to keep potassium around 2000 mg and phosphorus around 1000 mg (individual goals may vary), a glass of milk contributes a lot to the daily allotment of these limited nutrients.

Some milk substitutes renal dietitians may recommend include unfortified rice beverage, some brands of soy milk, some brands of non-dairy creamer and Dairy Delicious® low phosphorus, low potassium milk. Soy milk and non-dairy creamers vary in potassium and phosphorus content. Ask your dietitian to recommend the best brands available in your area.

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.