Diet for CKD level 3: Hi all, I'm a 5... - Early CKD Support

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Diet for CKD level 3


Hi all, I'm a 51 year old female just been diagnosed with CKD level 3. GFR of 53 with elevated creatinine, but no protein in urine. I don't have diabetes, high blood pressure or any of the other risk factors, so not sure of cause and my doctor just wants to monitor me, I'm not being sent to a nephrologist.

She just told me to cut out salt from my diet, but my diet is already low salt. I'm lactose soya and alcohol intolerant so I asked if she could refer me to a dietician. She said it's unlikely unless I get to level 4. I've had a look online and have read that phosphates should be avoided which is fairly tough as I eat a lot of nuts, dried fruit and whole grain stuff. My doc didn't seem overly bothered by diet at this stage but my feeling is that I'd rather do something now to prevent damage rather than leave it till the damage is done. Am I overthinking it? Anyone else change their diet at level 3 or have any recommendations?

Thanks in advance!

32 Replies

I don't believe you're overthinking it. I am 86. Two years ago, my primary care doctor saw the results of a routine blood test showed early CKD. Although she was willing to treat my condition, I consulted a nephrologist whom I continue to see on an infrequent and regular basis. I have remained at state 3 for more than two years. My private health insurance paid for my one-hour consultation with a renal nutritionist. I learned from her that incorporating eggs in my diet was a positive move. I don't know enough about phosphates to comment. Keep reading, researching and asking questions.

Julesboz in reply to jaykay777

Thanks I will. I did see a private nutritionist and she was very good for general health but not a renal specialist and I left with more questions than answers. I think I'll go back to my doctor and find out if there is any way of getting to see a specialist dietician. I will continue to question!

kithsirid in reply to jaykay777


Not only your doctor , doctors world wide not bothered about their patients, they are only worried about$$$.

How ever avoid eating high protein foods , high potasium foods, do not eat banana . Green apple i good eat a green apple every day, my GFR is 32 even after 2 heart attacks, im male N 72 YEARS OLD


DRINKK AT LEAST A Litre o water every day . do not drink bottled beverages which contain additives .

do little walking

if u are not hypertensive do not worry much..

go to the link"GFR Calculator – Glomerular Filtration Rate- Davita " u will get more information n many other link too.

Hope u will write me back.


Julesboz in reply to kithsirid

Thanks for your reply, my potassium levels are actually very low so I don't think I need to restrict that at the moment. This is why I think I'd like to see a dietician as there's a lot of general advice online but each person is different and has different needs.

I never drink bottled drinks anyway and I do walk twice a day for about 45 minutes each time and I also swim 2-3 times a week, so am relatively healthy which is why, at 51, this has come as a bit of a shock!

Jodalena in reply to Julesboz

My nephrologist at Kaiser (who is fabulous) sent me to a "specialist" nutritionist, but she specializes in Dialysis diets, which are very very different than Stage 3 or 4 diets, so be careful.

Peggy76 in reply to Jodalena

Hi Jodelina.

I've ckd stage 4 & heart failure had a pacemaker fitted Dec. 2016 also osteoporosis & pernicious anemia,regularly monitored by hospital & Doctor. But would like a varied diet to follow I'm overweight so it obviously dosent help my conditions. .i have a weakness for cheese 🧀 but would appreciate any advice .

Have a lovely day all 🌹🌹🌹

Jodalena in reply to Peggy76

I can't begin to advise you since I'm not a doc or nutritionist and since you have several different conditions. My own diet is now low-protein, low-phosphorus, and of course low-sodium, but you really need to ask what is best for your unique situation. We're all so different.

Peggy76 in reply to Jodalena

Hi ... I am already very careful with salt /. Sugar / biscuits & cakes etc. but really fed up at my age should be able to look forward to a treat,I don't drink or smoke ,I'm nearly 80'& seem so controlled by medication .oh well enough moaning ,can I thank you again for replying .be happy .

Peggy 🌹🌹🌹

Hi Julesboz, well the first thing to say is it's good that you know your kidney function is a bit lower than it ought to be because there must be hundreds if not thousands of people walking around thinking they are OK because they haven't had a blood test looking for their eGFR (kidney function level). I am 67 and only found out recently from the GP - in Sep last year that I was at eGFR of 59 and they started to monitor me, firstly at 3 months, then as the level started to drop, weekly, until it reached a low of 28 in February (level 4). I was suffering from a chest infection at the time, but until then I had no idea I had actually been at around 60 eGFR from at least Feb 2011, but the doctor didn't inform me. I was referred to a Nephrologist due to the dropping levels and when I asked why I wasn't told by the GP in 2011 about only being at level 60 - he said that as you grow older your function does fall anyway, so a eGRF of 60 at age 60 is not an issue. I do see why you would be worried about it being around 50 at age 51 though. I agree it's best to try and protect the function you still have. Diet is important, but my nephrologist has just said eat a healthy balanced diet. I've cut down on red meat to about 3 - 4 times a month, I have cut out any added salt and avoid processed foods. I have also reduced sugar by cutting out sugary breakfast cereals, just have porridge oats which I enjoy but do still eat fruit. I do have a bit or irritable bowel so have to avoid fruit and veg with skins on, and now don't eat raw apples or cauliflower or brocolli but that's just me. My kidney's are damaged by something I've taken, and although the Neph says it's probably due to using ibuleve gel (NSAID's) for my joints and taking vits and mineral supplements I believe the problem was caused by taking Omeprazole (stomach acid suppressant) as the drop in function came 6 months after I started taking it and has since picked up since I stopped taking it (and the supplements and gel) in Feb. I'm now up to eGRF 40. Neph said if I'm still at eGRF 40 when he sees me in Oct then he'll sign me off. So I'm not an expert on diet but you cannot go wrong with eating food that has not been processed and is fresh and if possible organic as that's when you get the most nutrients. Like you I don't drink alcohol and drink plenty of fresh water. I also get exercise from walking and keeping active around the house and garden. I wish you all the best for the future.

gleongelpi in reply to Sunsetter

My eGFR started dropping after two years of Nexium. But I can't stop. I've tried and I just die of pain. I have Barrett's Esophagus.

sandtrap in reply to gleongelpi

I have been on Nexium for the last 2 or 3 years and was just recently diagnosed with stage 3 ckd. Now i am wondering if the nexium may have caused it. My doctor never said anything when he saw my list of medications.

Peggy76 in reply to Sunsetter

Hi.. can I ask you please how your ckd reading is so high ? Mine is between 19& 20 . I really don't understand please advise me.

Kind regards thank you

Peggy ❤️❤️❤️

Sunsetter in reply to Peggy76

Hi Peggy - I think I'm just at eGRF of 40 because my kidney's were damaged by something but they don't know for sure what, but I don't have anything else wrong with them if that makes sense - I suppose it's like loosing some of your hearing function when you've been exposed to loud noises, you'll never get that back, but you can stop it getting any worse by avoiding places where there are loud noises or wear hearing protection. My kidney's still work but not as well as they did a year ago. It may get worse as I get older, because the nephrologist says they age the same as everything else, but I'm hoping they won't deteriorate too quickly. Everyone is different, so if you are worried about the level of kidney function you have, you need to talk to your GP and get referred to a Nephrologist if you haven't already done so, which I imagine you have. Try not to worry because, if you are being monitored and doing what the specialists tells you to do, you can do no more and a lot of good people on this web site seem to say that they still have a fulfilled life even with low kidney function. I wish you all the best X

Peggy76 in reply to Sunsetter


So kind of you to reply to me, yes I'm. Monitered by a cardiologist & nephrologist including my GP .im. Supposed one of the lucky. Ones & am grateful for that believe me I know how luck I am. &. Thank. God every day,im sending you my thanks &'love be happy keep well,.

Kindle remembered , Peggyn🌹🌹🌹

I'm at 30 and also no diabetes, high blood pressure or anemia. Low protein and low phosphate has helped me stabilize (I was at 27) the last 3 months. It's hard and counterintuitive to cut out/down on "healthy" foods, like nuts, seeds, whole grains, fatty fish, and dairy, but it does make a difference. I eat a lot of popcorn, polenta, matzah, and cornflakes to fill me up. I call it my Wonder Bread (actually Wonder Woman) diet.

Julesboz in reply to Jodalena

Thanks for the positive comments, yes I've spent my adult life trying to eat a 'healthy' diet and to convince my family to do the same and now I can't follow my own advice! How ironic!

I've been through the miscommunication with doctors my GFR has gone from 50 to 28 the diet drive you mad as you can't eat anything basically I've just decided what ever I'm doing isn't helping so why bother clinically there is nothing wrong with me I'm going to live my life normally and let's see what happens

I am 70 year old female and have also been diagnosed recently with CKD level 3, 39 during a routine physical. I feel fine. I have started to drink more water, added green tea, cut back on sugar substitute splenda, avoid salt, stopped taking Advil and Prilosec and my GFR has improved already by 3 points. No other health issues. I have not been referred to a dietician but did see a Nephrologist. She is running more blood and urine tests and wants to see me in 6 weeks. She feels strongly that the excessive use of Advil for the last 6 years due to a broken shoulder with shoulder implant, with the addition of heartburn pill Prilosec recently caused this issue. I also put myself on a diet which has resulted in a weight loss of 5 pounds so far with the addition of fruits and vegetables and less protein, and no red meat. Good luck to you Julesboz. I agree with you that preventative care is the way to go.

Omeprazole ,anti-inflamitories, and Metformin played a large part to my kidney failure and its also genetic.

Yes, I've heard that a lot. For me it's weird though. No-one in my family has ever had kidney problems and I've never taken anti inflammatories or other drugs for any period of time. I have absolutely no idea why this would have happened!

I use Stevia. It comes from a plant. It has been mentioned in several things I have read.

Peggy76 in reply to myra123456

Hello. Mryta±123456______..thank you for your opinions so happy to read your comment,& views. Keep safe & well.

Peggy 🌹🌹🌹

Exactly how I thought to do something before it got worse but I got consumed by it and it lead to more anxiety for me and weight loss and depression. I am 35 and have been stage 3 for 5 years. There really should be professionals out there working with us more around diet and counselling but I guess it all costs!

Julesboz in reply to Missyclare

Missyclare, yes I can imagine you could get over anxious about what you eat. I was terrified a couple of weeks ago when I got diagnosed and was afraid to eat anything! I've now calmed down (I think it was the shock of being told I have a chronic disease) and am eating sensibly, but avoiding processed food, salt and the things I'm intolerant to. I am due to see an NHS renal dietician on Monday, so it will be interesting to see if she thinks I'm taking the right approach.

Missyclare in reply to Julesboz

Oh wow that is great news you are getting to see a renal dietician at stage 3. May ask for myself. Hope all goes well :)

Julesboz in reply to Missyclare

Definitely ask, that's what I did, I wouldn't have seen one unless I did. I've found that doctors have a routine script for certain conditions but if you question them they quite often will consider going off script. I explained that I already have food intolerances and want to make sure that my diet isn't going to make my kidneys worse. Just tell them you'd rather see a renal dietician now and prevent getting to level 4-5.

Angie2020 in reply to Julesboz

Same here. I'm 51 and been diagnosed stage 3a. Lost about 5 pounds in a few days with sickening anxiety and not knowing what to eat. Just found out my sister who's 50 as just been diagnosed as well so really anxious now as it could be genetic as my uncle had it :(

Julesboz in reply to Angie2020

Angie2020, try not to worry. It's nearly a year since I was diagnosed. I was anxious to start with but have since realised that having CKD is normally not something to worry about. However, you should be aware you have it and should treat your body accordingly to preserve kidney function (eat the right things, avoid the bad things, don't drink or smoke, exercise and relax), however you should bear in mind that the vast majority of people with CKD never progress to stage 5 and dialysis/transplant. You may stay at stage 3 for years or for ever. I've checked my medical records retrospectively and it turns out that I've been hovering round stage 3 for between 6 and 10 years without knowing it. By modifying my diet I've increased my GFR from low 50s to 60. For me it's dairy that causes my GFR to drop but it's different for everyone. The general rules are: avoid processed food which has high levels of phosphates and salt, avoid salt, fizzy drinks, reduce alcohol, don't smoke, avoid dairy and too much red meat. Also check any medications you may take as some cause GFR to drop. (NSAIDS are common culprits and I never take them now). But check with your GP before stopping any medication. Have a look on for dietary advice but don't overly worry. I think that's one of the most important bits of advice I got when I was diagnosed, please try not to worry! Good luck to you!

Angie2020 in reply to Julesboz

Do you follow a strict diet plan or just stick to stuff you know is good for you? I do like a cup of tea but I've cut down to 3 a day which is half cup of milk. I can't find any other substitute that tastes ok with tea

Julesboz in reply to Angie2020

No I don't follow a strict diet plant, life's too short! All the meals I cook are made from scratch, so minimal processed stuff (occasional sausages etc but good quality). Lots of veg. Like you I love tea and have to limit myself to 2 cups a day with lactofree milk. The rest of the day I drink fruit teas and maybe one cup of coffee with either coconut or oat milk. There is no substitute for cow's milk in tea unfortunately :-( I don't eat out often as it's hard with intolerances. I don't drink alcohol, have never smoked, never drink fizzy drinks, squash etc. It's water or tea for me. The one thing I do which isn't great for CKD sufferers is eat a lot of red meat as I also have a problem with unexplained iron deficiency anaemia and low B12. This doesn't seem to be causing me an issue because the main culprit for low GFR for me is diary. As long as I limit that, my GFR is better. That's not to say I'd advise anyone else with CKDto eat too much red meat, it's generally not a good idea.

Thank you. That's really reassuring to hear because I've been making myself ill with worry and uncertainty

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