- Understanding Chronic Kidney Disease
- Kidney Disease Stages
- What to Expect with CKD
- Managing Kidney Disease
- Understanding Acute Kidney Injury
- How Kidneys Work
- Take a FREE CLASS on Kidney Disease
Managing Your DietManaging Your Diet
Eating Well with CKD
When you’re living with chronic kidney disease (CKD), what you eat—and how much—depend on how well your kidneys are working. What’s the single most important thing you can do during stage 3 CKD and stage 4 CKD before dialysis? Talk to your doctor or dietitian and learn the specifics on what to eat and drink and why. Eating well and following a kidney friendly diet may help keep your kidneys working as long as possible.
Lighten up on protein
Your body uses protein to build and repair muscle. When you’re living with CKD, your doctor may suggest cutting back on how much protein you eat because of its effect on your kidneys. While protein is an important building block for a healthy body, it creates a waste called urea. With CKD, your body has trouble removing urea, which can make you feel tired and lose your appetite.
Knowing how much protein is too much—or too little
If your kidney function is less than 25% or stage 4, you may be told to cut back on red meat, poultry, fish and dairy since they contain high levels of protein. However, it’s important to understand that protein is still essential for all bodily functions, so follow your doctor or dietitian’s exact recommended protein intake.
Keep an eye on ingredients and nutrition labels
CKD can make it harder for your body to maintain balance. Following a CKD diet can help. There are certain nutrients that can put added stress on your kidneys and should be monitored or avoided. Salt, phosphorus and potassium are common in many foods and they can all impact your body and overall health in different ways.
TIP FOR PROTEIN PORTIONS
In CKD stages 3 and 4, reduce your protein portion to half the size of your palm to avoid eating too much. Remember that protein guidelines vary by stage, so ask your care team about your personal needs.
Questions about what to eat? Ask your care team
When it comes to a CKD diet plan, your care team is the best resource for providing the right dietary information for your unique needs. Speak up and ask questions so you can make your best choices. Your care team is here to help.