Renal Disease & Nutrition

Pre-Dialysis Nutrition

The kidneys are responsible for filtering substances from the blood. When your kidneys start to fail, (Renal Failure) they may not be as efficient at filtering the blood. A specific diet before Dialysis helps to limit your intake of some of these substances and also tries to prevent further damage to the kidneys. Ultimate to protect remaining kidney function, it is advisable to limit the amount of protein and sodium intake your diet.


The amount of protein you need to eat depends on your body weight. Consult with a physician or dietitian about your individual protein needs. However, studies suggest total protein intake should be approximately 50g a day. Meat is often the primary source of protein in the diet. When you have to limit the amount of protein in your diet, you need to make sure you choose high-quality meats to make sure you meet all of your essential amino acid needs. High-quality choices of meat include eggs, poultry, beef, pork, lamb and veal. You can have about 4 oz. of these meats a day.


Along with limiting your protein intake, you should also limit your sodium to 2,000 mg a day. It is important to thoroughly read food labels and compare evaluate the sodium content in the foods you eat and also help you keep track of your intake. Choosing fresh, unprocessed foods can also help you limit the sodium in your diet. You can have six servings of starches a day on a before dialysis diet. You should make a habit of making healthy choices, including consuming low-sodium bread, pasta, rice, low-sodium crackers, oatmeal, low-sodium ready-to-eat cereal and plain air-popped popcorn.


Fats in the diet before dialysis serve as a source of calories. Poor appetite and malnutrition can be an issue for people with kidney disease, ensuring adequate calorie intake is necessary to help maintain body weight and appropriate nutritional needs. Aim for six servings of fat a day on a when considering a before dialysis diet. Choose low-sodium fats such as unsalted margarine, mayonnaise and oil.


Fruits do not contain any protein and can be eaten without much restriction, however consider your potassium levels before consuming multiple servings of fruits. Aim for at least three servings a day. Some low-potassium fruit choices are applesauce, apples, canned fruit, pears, peaches, cantaloupe and strawberries.

Dairy Foods

Watch out for dairy foods they are a source of protein in the diet. Limit your intake to one serving per day. Choose low-fat and nonfat dairy products to limit your intake of saturated fat. Consider things like low fat milk, skim milk, nonfat yogurt and low-sodium cheese.


Two servings of vegetables a day are recommended on a before dialysis diet. One serving is equal to 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked. There are a lot of healthy choices including broccoli, spinach, carrots, green beans, peppers, onions and mushrooms. If you have high potassium levels, your physician may suggest you limit your intake of vegetables high in potassium such as tomatoes and potatoes.


Phosphorus is a mineral that has many functions in your body, It helps to build and maintain bones. When your kidneys are not functioning properly, they lose the ability to get rid of excess phosphorus from your diet. High phosphorus levels can cause severe itching. Elevated levels of phosphorus in the blood also cause your blood calcium level to drop. The body then tries to keep up adequate calcium in the blood by pulling calcium from the bones. Over time, if untreated, your bones will weaken and joints may become inflamed and  painful.

Avoiding foods high in phosphorus is very important. It is recommended that you take your phosphate binders as prescribed. A few examples are: Tums, PhosLo, Renagel, Tums, Renvela and PhosLo. Binders will help your body from absorbing some of the phosphorus in foods. You should take binders no more than five minutes before meals and snacks or during meal time or no more than 15 minutes after meals and snacks. Otherwise, binders will not be effective. Also, watch the portion size of low phosphorus foods, too many servings of a low phosphorus food will add up.

Control Carbohydrates Intake

  1. Eat at the right time
  2. Eat the right foods
  3. Have a diet plan and stick to it
  4. Limit intake of foods high in Carbs like; Milk, Yogurt, Sweets and Cereal


For further information or more details contact our office and we will be happy to assist you with your nutritional needs.