Personalized kidney nutrition

Submitted by Roxanne Papineau, Dt.P  nutritionist at IUCPQ, President of the Quebec Nephrology Nutritionists’ Association (RNNQ)

Kidney disease can vary from person to person. Because of this, treatment for kidney disease can also vary from individual to individual.  Regardless of the cause or stage of kidney disease, nutrition is always an important part of the treatment for kidney disease.  Nutritional treatment can vary depending on the stage of kidney disease. It may change depending on blood and urine test results, medication, and individual needs. Starting dialysis or having a kidney transplant can also lead to a change in nutritional needs. Because of this, there is no single “diet” for kidney disease. A renal dietitian can develop personalized diet plans and recommendations.

Dietary limits may vary from person to person. For example, some people with kidney disease will need to reduce their fluid intake to limit water retention in the body, while others may need to increase their fluid intake. Some medications or conditions may cause an increase in potassium levels in the blood, while others may cause low blood potassium levels.  Moderate sodium (salt) intake is only recommendation that is common to all patients with kidney disease.  The recommendations for sodium intake are the same for a person with kidney disease as for the rest of the Canadian population, which is a maximum of 2300 mg per day.

Protein needs are very different for people on dialysis compared to those who are not dialysis. Eating protein produces waste that is filtered by the kidneys. A person with reduced kidney function will need to limit their protein intake to reduce the build-up of waste in their blood. Limiting protein intake can help to reduce nausea or itching and can slow down the loss of kidney function. When a person starts dialysis treatment, protein needs are higher to replace some of the losses from dialysis.

Regardless of the stage and treatment of your kidney disease, it is important to talk to your dietitian to understand your specific nutritional needs and to help improve the control of your disease. The science of kidney nutrition has evolved in recent years and some recommendations have changed because of this new knowledge. As a result, a healthy diet for kidney patients is more attractive and tastier than ever!

This delicious recipe for zucchini brownies can be served as both dessert, snack, or a festive breakfast. This recipe is from my book: Savoir quoi manger – Santé rénale, published by Modus. Bon appétit!