The world of chronic kidney disease and related health conditions is fraught with rules, restrictions, and limitations. It can be difficult simply keeping up with everything that you are supposed to know and do. The list of renal diet dos and don'ts of eating alone seems endless.
Keeping up with food restrictions for chronic kidney disease is very important. The byproducts of everything you eat, after all, are ultimately processed through your kidneys. This is why diet is so important in the treatment of chronic kidney disease. It is so important, in fact, that you could potentially stop the progression of renal disease and actually avoid end-stage renal disease by being vigilant with your kidney safe diet.
The top foods to avoid for chronic kidney disease ultimately include at least one of a few ingredients that are particularly bad for non-functioning kidneys. These are potassium, phosphorus, and sodium. While we are not making a list of foods to avoid with kidney disease, these are some items that you might want to eat less of and choose kidney disease meals that are healthier.
Why are potassium, phosphorus, and sodium bad for chronic kidney disease?
It is the main function of the kidneys to process and flush out excess toxins, waste, and nutrients that are no longer needed. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, they lose the ability to properly or fully process these products, which are primarily by-products of the food and drinks you consume. Some by-products, no matter how healthy they initially were, are quite dangerous if allowed to build up in the system. Examples of these are potassium, phosphorus, and sodium. They each cause their own potentially very dangerous side effects when allowed to build up in your body.
• Potassium: Can cause severe heart problems, such as arrhythmia or even heart failure.
• Phosphorus: Can leach calcium out of your body and cause dangerously brittle bones.
• Sodium: Can cause fluid retention, which puts stress on your entire body from your limbs to your heart.
Generally, foods that are considered safe to eat for kidney patients will be low in potassium, phosphorus, and sodium. Foods that are high in these nutrients will be on a limited or “eat less” list. With a chronic kidney disease foods to avoid list, you will be starting in the right direction to lowering your intake of high potassium, phosphorus and sodium foods that are going to possibly cause damage to your kidneys over time.
You can eat these foods listed below in moderation or not at all, but realize that you are affecting the amount of waste in your blood that your kidneys have to process when you follow a list of renal foods to avoid. It's important to manage your CKD through diet and eating healthier is not the same with all types of diseases. CKD is different with what foods are good for you and not so good for you.
Here are some examples:
Foods to Avoid For Chronic Kidney Disease:
• Potatoes (unless you leach them)
• Processed Meats – stick to lean cuts of meat and whole muscle types of meats
• Beans and Legumes
• Many Dairy Products
• Processed Foods – tend to be higher in sodium and additives
• Fast Food – salt is higher and hard to know what is added during processing
• Salty Snacks
• Whole Grain Bread
This is a short list of common foods that should be avoided with chronic kidney disease. There are many other foods that should be omitted from your diet in order to maintain as much healthy kidney function as possible. In some cases, you might also be asked to limit your fluid intake. Excess fluid in your system can be really dangerous, and cause you a lot of discomfort as well as a worsening of your condition. This is typical once you are on dialysis and becomes an issue with how much fluid between dialysis sessions.
This all might seem like a lot to process, but you are perfectly capable of following through with a healthy kidney safe diet. Start by keeping a list of foods that you shouldn't eat, and a list of foods that are good to eat on a chronic kidney disease diet. Sometimes focusing on what you can do and can eat is much easier than only relying on what not to do.
If you are looking for a book with information about foods to avoid with stage 3 kidney disease, check out my book on potassium, phosphorus and sodium amounts in common foods to adjust your meal plan and eat foods that are healthy for CKD.
Also published on Medium.