The “renal” (or kidney) diet has a reputation for being restrictive, lacking variety, and difficult to follow.
But, with new nutrition research, this is not the case anymore! With the help from our Renal Dietitian, Kaitlin, you can learn how to spice up the “renal diet” and actually eat foods you enjoy. Kaitlin can help you create a nutrition plan that works for your lifestyle and still promotes optimal kidney health. But, what exactly does this diet entail?
See below for more information about the myths and facts of the “renal diet”
Myth: You have to cut out potassium
Fact: Foods with potassium can still be a part of your diet.
So, potassium actually only needs to be restricted if you are on a “potassium restriction” from your doctor. If you are not on this restriction, then you can have about 2000-3000mg of potassium a day. This means, bananas, tomatoes and potatoes can still be a part of your diet Of course, you don’t want to “over-do” it and have too much more than 3000mg of potassium each day. Your renal dietitian can help you figure out how to incorporate all of those potassium foods into your diet.
Myth: I can’t eat any foods with phosphorus
Fact: You only need to avoid foods with phosphorus additives
Meat, dairy, nuts, whole grains, beans and some fruits and vegetables are known to be higher in phosphorus. Foods that naturally contain phosphorus are safe to eat on a renal diet (if you are not on a potassium restriction).This is because the phosphorus in those foods aren’t 100% absorbed by the body. In meat and nuts, our body only absorbs about 60% of the phosphorus, and about 80% in dairy and 40% in grains. Yes, this means you can have whole grain bread instead of white and incorporate meat and nuts back into your diet. What you actually need to look out for in terms of phosphorus is the phosphorus additives. The phosphorus in these additives are absorbed 100% by the body. Ask your renal dietitian about foods that are phosphorus additive free!
Myth: Protein is bad for me on a renal diet
Fact: Protein is safe if you eat the right amounts
The truth is, many Americans (dietitians included!), consume more protein than what our bodies need. Meat is a great source of protein and other fruits you may eat on a regular basis also contain this nutrient. Because of this, the protein in our diet can build up quickly. In kidney disease, it is true the too much protein may overload them, however it doesn’t mean protein is “bad for you” or that you need to cut it out. Portion size is going to be important when thinking about protein in a renal diet. Our Renal Dietitian, Kaitlin, is here to support you in learning more about portion sizes and how to create meals to fit within the guidelines for protein in kidney disease.
As you can see, there are ways for you to incorporate your fave foods into your diet, even if you have CKD. Working with Kaitlin will help you improve kidney function through nutrition. Call us at 301-474-2499 or contact us for more information about our nutrition programs for kidney health.
An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.