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Renal Diets Advice - Eating Guidelines About Renal Diets & Hemodialysis - What Foods to Eat on Renal Diets

Renal Diet Advice

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Renal Diet Advice - Part 2

Renal Diet & Phosphorus

Phosphorus is a mineral found in many foods. If you have too much phosphorus in your blood, it pulls calcium from your bones. Losing calcium will make your bones weak and likely to break. Also, too much phosphorus may make your skin itch. Foods like milk and cheese, dried beans, peas, colas, nuts, and peanut butter are high in phosphorus. Usually, people on dialysis are limited to 1/2 cup of milk per day.

You probably will need to take a phosphate binder like Renagel, PhosLo, Tums, or calcium carbonate to control the phosphorus in your blood between dialysis sessions. These medications act like sponges to soak up, or bind, phosphorus while it is in the stomach. Because it is bound, the phosphorus does not get into the blood. Instead, it is passed out of the body in the stool.

Renal Diet & Protein

Before you were on dialysis, your doctor may have told you to follow a low-protein diet. Being on dialysis changes this. Most people on dialysis are encouraged to eat as much high-quality protein as they can. The better nourished you are, the healthier you will be. You will also have greater resistance to infection and recover from surgery more quickly.

Protein helps you keep muscle and repair tissue. In your body, protein breaks down into a waste product called urea. If urea builds up in your blood, you can become very sick. Some sources of protein produce less waste than others. These are called high-quality proteins. High-quality proteins come from meat, fish, poultry, and eggs (especially egg whites). Getting most of your protein from these sources can reduce the amount of urea in your blood.

  • Poultry and fish, like broiled flounder, are a good source of high-quality protein.
  • Try to choose lean (low-fat) meats that are also low in phosphorus. If you are a vegetarian, ask about other ways to get your protein.
  • Low-fat milk is a good source of protein. But milk is high in phosphorus and potassium. And milk adds to your fluid intake.

Renal Diet & Sodium

Sodium is found in salt and other foods. Most canned foods and frozen dinners contain large amounts of sodium. Too much sodium makes you thirsty. But if you drink more fluid, your heart has to work harder to pump the fluid through your body. Over time, this can cause high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.

  • Try to eat fresh foods that are naturally low in sodium. Look for products labeled low sodium.
  • Do not use salt substitutes because they contain potassium.

Renal Diet & Calories

Calories provide energy for your body. If your doctor recommends it, you may need to cut down on the calories you eat. A dietitian can help you plan ways to cut calories in the best possible way.

But some people on dialysis need to gain weight. You may need to find ways to add calories to your diet. Vegetable oils - like olive oil, canola oil, and safflower oil - are good sources of calories. Use them generously on breads, rice, and noodles.

Butter and margarines are rich in calories. But these fatty foods can also clog your arteries. Use them less often. Soft margarine that comes in tubs is better than stick margarine. Vegetable oils are the healthiest way to add fat to your diet if you need to gain weight.

Hard candy, sugar, honey, jam, and jelly provide calories and energy without clogging arteries or adding other things that your body does not need. If you have diabetes, be very careful about eating sweets. A dietitian's guidance is very important for people with diabetes.

Supplementing a Renal Diet - Should I Take Vitamin or Mineral Supplements?

Take only the vitamins your doctor prescribes. Vitamins and minerals may be missing from your diet because you have to avoid so many foods. Your doctor may prescribe a vitamin and mineral supplement like Nephrocaps.

Do not take vitamins that you can buy off the store shelf. They may contain vitamins or minerals that are harmful to you.

NOTE:
Please talk over your options with your renal dietitian. Only a renal dietitian can offer you personal diet advice which is appropriate for your personal condition.

For more information about Renal diets, see:
Renal Diet Guidelines
Renal Diet Advice 1
Renal Diet Foods
Renal Diet Support

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Sources include:

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse

"Getting Started on Your Renal Diet"
© N. Arizona Council on Renal Nutrition, Arizona Dietetic Project

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