Renal Diet FAQs
There are many ways to help delay the progression of kidney disease, especially if you are diagnosed in the early stages. Here are some tips that can help you protect your kidneys:
- Eat a healthy diet: we generally recommend you follow a well balanced diet that limits sodium in order to help control blood pressure. A good way to limit sodium is to avoid processed foods (such as fast foods, canned foods, packaged foods and frozen entrees). We also recommend you avoid excess protein (see FAQ ‘how much protein do I need each day?’). In addition, replacing some animal protein with vegetable protein may help slow the progression of CKD. Avoiding phosphate additives from processed foods (like colas, processed cheeses and seasoned meats) may also help protect your kidneys.
- Monitor blood pressure: Studies have shown that good blood pressure control can help slow the progression of kidney disease.
- Stay active: Make physical activity a regular habit. 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per day is recommended.
- Maintain a healthy weight: being overweight increases your risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure which are major risk factors for kidney disease.
- Stay hydrated: Drink water instead of calorie-rich beverages.
- If you consume alcohol, drink in moderation: limit alcohol to 2 standard drinks per day for men, 1 per day for women (see FAQ ‘how much alcohol is safe for kidney patients).
- If you have diabetes: maintain good blood glucose control.
- Be a non-smoker: Smoking is a risk factor for faster progression of kidney disease.
- Take medications as prescribed by your doctor.
- Have regular checkups with your doctor.
- Maintain a positive ‘stay well’ attitude and do things that help you relax and reduce stress.
Remember it is never too late to make positive changes to your lifestyle. Eating well and keeping active can improve long term health and help you maintain good kidney function.
Since protein requirements can be specific to your medications, other medical conditions or your overall nutritional status, it is best to speak with a renal dietitian about the amount of protein that will help you optimize your health. In general, if you have stage 1-4 kidney disease you should aim for 0.8 grams protein per kg of body weight. This amounts to approximately 1-2 servings of low phosphorus Meat and Alternatives, each about the size of a deck of cards each day. If you are on dialysis, some protein is lost during the filtration process so you should aim for 1.1-1.3 grams of protein per kg per day. This amounts to 2-3 servings of low phosphorus Meat & Alternatives, again each about the size of a deck of cards.
Being physically active does not increase your protein needs unless intense training for several hours a day is part of your routine. Additional protein requirements are recommended for pregnant and lactating women.
The recipes are recommended for all stages of kidney disease and are low in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.