Renal Diet Restrictions Are Confusing!

Start With One Part Of The Renal Diet Restrictions

Vegetables (Photo credit: Muao)

When we talk about renal diet basics, it’s important to understand that the renal diet can be complicated. You have to pay attention to your beverages, meals, and snacks. Any of those items can cause problems for your kidneys or help your kidneys to improve. I know you really want to have your kidney health improve so let’s talk about the renal diet basics that you need to know to improve your nondialysis kidney disease and follow your renal diet restrictions.

Protein Is The Most Important

One of the most important changes you’ll need to make as you approach stage 3 and stage 4 kidney disease is to control the amount of protein that you eat.  Your renal diet restrictions will need to limit the amount of protein that you eat to your weight in kilograms or less. Many dietitians recommend a renal diet restriction of .8 g of protein per kilo gram of body weight.

You probably already eat too much protein in your diet. If you weighed 150 pounds, that would equal 68.2 kg [Divide 150 pounds by 2.2 = kilograms]. Which is 68 g of protein per day if you’re going for one gram of protein per kilo gram of body weight. Or 54.5 g of protein if you are doing .8 g of protein per kilogram.

1 ounce of protein equals 7 g of protein. Most carbohydrates have 3 g of protein per serving. A serving is approximately 15 g of carbohydrate. So when you take into account both the meat that you leave for the day and the grains, bread, and starches that you ate for the day you are easily getting over 68 g of protein.

Animal protein is one of the biggest sources of protein that you will have and it’s the one that you should concentrate on the most controlling as part of renal diet restrictions. So if you go over a little bit but it’s based on non-animal protein sources, your kidneys can handle that much easier than overloading on the amount of animal protein that you ate.

Start reading labels and figuring out how many grams of protein are in the food that you eat, and make sure to check for serving sizes specifically so you know how many servings you are eating. Then try to stick to an amount of protein that is between .8 – 1 g of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Sodium Is Critical To Manage

Thinking about renal diet restrictions you should also look at sodium limitations.  Your kidneys are susceptible to high blood pressure, and high blood pressure is susceptible to the amount of sodium that you eat. If your blood pressure is high it damages the small blood vessels in your kidneys and overall causes more damage to your body and decreases the effectiveness of your kidneys as filters.

Sodium is an easy thing to look at, because it’s on the food label. Sodium is not an easy thing to reduce in your diet as part of renal diet restrictions, unless you are willing to cook more food to home and carry your sack lunch to work.  Cooking at home is one of the sure fire ways to reduce sodium as long as you don’t add it when you’re cooking.

But sodium is a really critical mineral to manage and understand how much is in your food. Just reading the labels will make you much more aware and help you understand how you can reduce it.

Make Sure You Are Eating The Right Amount Of Foods

Do you find yourself really hungry when following your renal diet restrictions?  Have you severely limited what you’re allowing yourself to eat so you don’t hurt your kidneys? I understand that mentality and I applaud you for working really hard to limit the damage to your kidneys. But I would recommend that you look a little closer at just decreasing the amount of protein that you take in and limiting the amount of sodium in the foods that you eat to make the renal diet restrictions a little easier to cope with.

Foods that are high in sodium are typically canned vegetables and fruits. Canned soup is also high in sodium. Eating more fresh vegetables and fresh fruits will allow you to reduce the amount of sodium that you take in. If you have high blood pressure this would be good for your blood pressure as well.

Add the low sodium of phosphorus vegetables to your meals such as zucchini, squash, and radishes or beets. Eat white bread instead of whole-grain bread, and that will help you reduce the amount of phosphorous and potassium in your diet.

And cut back on your protein servings of meat and milk products for protein renal diet restrictions. Try to eat only about 3 ounces of meat or poultry, which is the size of a deck of cards, at a meal. For your snacks, you can eat some seeds or nuts that are filled with good omega-3 fatty acids.

You shouldn’t feel hungry all the time, and if you are it means that you need to be working at finding those low potassium, low sodium foods that you can eat  for your renal diet.

One sure way is to check out our renal predialysis recipe meal plans that are available on this website so you’ll know exactly what you can have for dinner seven nights a week.  Following a meal plan is easier when someone has done the work for you, and that’s something that we provide every week for less than the price of coffee per day. And I’m talking about McDonald’s coffee, not Starbucks.


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  1. Mary Perkins says

    I can’t tell you how much help your blog has been. Information is what it is all about. I have your book “Create Your Own Diet Plan” and hope to have the attention span and time to get it into action. I’m looking forward to your cookbook. Mary

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