Renal Diet Calculator

August 21, 2014 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Health Calculators

Modifying Diet for Renal Patients

This calculator is intended for practitioners. Please visit your Dietician, Nutritionist and/or Doctor before using this calculator. Anyone who has kidney disorders should be consulting a dietician or doctor for diet advice. This is only provided as a tool, to be used in conjunction with care from a nutritionist, dietician or doctor.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Anyone who has kidney disorders needs to be under the care of a doctor, and a nutritionist or dietician.

Dietary Changes necessary for Kidney Disease

  • Limiting fluids
  • Eating a low-protein diet
  • Limiting salt, potassium, phosphorous, and other electrolytes
  • Getting enough calories if you are losing weight

You may need to alter your diet more if you kidney disease gets worse or if you or if you need dialysis.

Benefits of Dietary Changes

Keeping the levels of electrolytes, minerals, and fluid in your body balanced when you have chronic kidney disease or are on dialysis is very important. People on dialysis need this special diet to limit the buildup of waste products in the body.

Most dialysis patients are unable to urinate sufficiently. Without urination, fluid will build up in the body and cause too much fluid in the heart, lungs, and ankles.

See a Nutritionist or Dietician

Your dietitian can also help you create a diet to fit your other health needs.

The Kidney Foundation is a good place to find programs and information. You need to take in enough calories each day to keep you healthy and prevent the breakdown of body tissue. Ask your doctor and dietitian what your ideal weight should be.


Eating more carbohydrates may be recommended. If your health care provider has recommended a low-protein diet, you may replace the calories from protein with:

Fruits, breads, grains, and vegetables. These foods provide energy, as well as fiber, minerals, and vitamins.


Fats can be a good source of calories, as many Renal patients have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. Make sure to use monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil) to protect your heart health, and may be a healthier alternative for increasing calorie intake. Talk to your doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian about fats and cholesterol that may increase your risk for heart problems.


Low-protein diets are sometimes recommended prior to when you start dialysis. Your doctor or dietitian may recommend a moderate-protein diet (1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day).

It is often recommended that dialysis patients eat more protein. A high-protein diet with fish, poultry, pork, or eggs at every meal may be recommended. This will help you replace muscles and other tissues that you lose.

People on dialysis should eat 8 – 10 ounces of high-protein foods each day. Your doctor, dietitian, or nurse may suggest adding egg whites, egg white powder, or protein powder. Egg whites are a low fat source of protein and offer a higher percentage of protein than most foods.


The minerals calcium and phosphorous will be checked often. Even in the early stages of chronic kidney disease, phosphorous levels in the blood can get too high. This can cause:

Low calcium. This causes the body to pull calcium from your bones, which can lead to osteoporosis – a disorder where bones become brittle and more prone to breaking.


You will need to limit milk, yogurt, and cheese due to their high phosphorous content. Some dairy foods are lower in phosphorous, including butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, ricotta cheese, brie cheese, and sherbet. Margarine and nondairy whipped toppings may be alternatives.

Fruits and vegetables contain only small amounts of phosphorous, but may contain large amounts of potassium.

You may need to take calcium supplements to prevent bone disease, and vitamin D to control the balance of calcium and phosphorous in your body. Ask your doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian about how best to get these nutrients.

Your doctor may recommend medicines called “phosphorous binders” if diet changes alone do not work to control the balance of this mineral in your body.


In the early stages of kidney failure, you do not need to limit the fluid you drink. But, as your condition gets worse, or when you are on dialysis, you will need to watch the amount of liquid you take in.

In between dialysis sessions, fluid can build up in the body. Too much fluid will lead to shortness of breath, an emergency that needs immediate medical attention.

Your doctor and dialysis nurse will let you know how much you should drink every day. Use smaller cups or glasses and turn over your cup after you have finished it. Avoid salty foods that make you thirsty, and stay cool on hot days.


Reducing sodium in your diet helps you control high blood pressure and keeps you from being thirsty, and prevents your body from holding onto extra fluid. It is likely that you will need to cut down the sodium in your diet.

Check all labels to see how much salt or sodium foods contain per serving. Look for products with less than 100 mg of salt per serving. Do not add salt when cooking. Most other herbs are safe, and you can use them to flavor your food instead of salt.


Normal blood levels of potassium help keep your heart beating steadily. Too much potassium can cause the heart rhythm to be out of whack and can be very serious or even fatal .

Potassium is found in many food groups, including fruits and vegetables.
When eating fruits:

Choose peaches, grapes, pears, cherries, apples, berries, pineapple, plums, tangerines, and watermelon
Limit or avoid oranges and orange juice, nectarines, Kiwis, raisins or other dried fruit, bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew, prunes, and nectarines

When eating vegetables:

Choose broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, green and wax beans, lettuce, onion, peppers, watercress, zucchini, and yellow squash
Limit or avoid asparagus, avocado, potatoes, tomatoes or tomato sauce, winter squash, pumpkin, avocado, and cooked spinach


People with advanced kidney failure also have anemia and usually need extra iron.

Iron rich foods include liver, beef, pork, chicken, lima and kidney beans, iron-fortified cereals. Talk to your doctor, nurse, or dietitian which foods with iron you can eat because of your kidney disease.

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