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Kidney Disease
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Ask a Dietitian

Reminder that our live Q&A with a registered dietitian is on September 19 at 2pm (EST). I encourage those who can’t attend write your questions or concerns below and we'll ask for you!

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I was given a renal diet by my Doctor that is from NIH. It only shows in general terms and gives max mg. It does not say what nutritional value you are getting. Is there a renal diet that shows nutritional value? Presently am using Davita diet helper.

There is no one specific diet that shows nutritional values. Your best option would be to get a referral from your physician for an appointment with a dietitian. This way you can have a personalized meal plan with the foods that you prefer to eat. Depending on your stage of kidney failure and recent lab results, you may not need to be as restrictive with potassium or phosphorus containing foods.

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Thank you! How much protein should a kidney transplant recipient eat 10 months post-transplant to help the kidney be as healthy as possible & last as long as possible? I’m 62, 5’8.5” And currently 159lbs BMI 23.9. I get the feeling no one really knows...is this the case? Is there any research you can point me to, if it exists? Thank you!

Congratulations on receiving a kidney transplant! The recommendation post-transplant is the same as an average healthy individual. With that being said, most people consume more protein than would be recommended. A healthy amount of daily protein for someone post-transplant is 0.8 g/kg of body weight. Your weight would convert to 72.3 kg (Pounds divided by 2.2 = kg). A healthy amount of protein for your weight is 58 grams of total protein per day (from all food sources, grains, dairy, etc.) or a maximum of 6-7 ounces (by weight of meat after cooking) of protein. Substituting plant proteins for the animal proteins will also assist your health and the health of your transplant in the long term. If you have a dietitian through your transplant center, they would be the best person to assist you with a meal plan. Protein needs may need to be adjusted for your current activity/exercise level.

For more on protein visit: kidney.org/atoz/content/enjoy

Advice for a generally helpful dos and dont's diet for CKD3a please with no known cause/precipitating factor. So many foods are listed as not good for this condition, most of which I love, eg spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, beetroot . . . at the same time this list advises no wholewheat foods. So if I followed that I would compromise other aspects of my health, surely. And be miserable.

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My answer would be similar to the one above, it really would be best for you to meet with a dietitian in person to review your labs and come up with a personalized meal plan. Depending on your current kidney function, you may not need to restrict those foods you listed. If your phosphorus is normal, there is no need to avoid whole wheat at this time. If your potassium is normal, you can still enjoy tomatoes, etc.

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My question would be very much the same as Trill, but, in addition, being anaemic, how do I naturally supplement if avoiding spinach, red meat chick peas etc. Thanks!

It's best to look for iron fortified cereals such as Total (100% of iron needs in 1 serving), Grape Nuts (90% of iron needs in 1 serving). Other cereals may be similarly fortified, check your food labels. Cooking in cast iron is another good way to add some iron to your diet.

I'm looking for a simple yes or no answer here. Is the dietitian going to be a Renal Dietitian or a "regular" dietitian?

Yes, shes a renal dietitian.

Thanks for the information.

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So how do you attend?

Just be online today at 2pm (EST). You can post your questions and they will be answered on the spot.

What are some good plant protein sources and how much should one have them at stage 3 especially if one has proteinuria?

Is soy protein ok for someone with IGA nephropathy? What amounts should be had?

Are eggs/egg whites advisable, occasionally?

Suggestions for good plant based sources of food to increase haemoglobin levels without increasing potassium levels.

What if any are the benefits of Apple cider vinegar and what is the best way to have it?

The overall amount of protein that should be consumed is based on body weight, without knowing your current weight I am unable to answer how much you should be having in your diet. You should try to make half of your daily protein intake plant proteins such as legumes (black beans, chick peas, kidney beans, soy beans), nuts and tofu.

Soy protein is fine. I would not recommend more than 2 ounces daily of soy/tofu. Occasional eggs and egg whites are fine as part of a balanced diet.

For hemoglobin it's best to look for iron fortified cereals such as Total (100% of iron needs in 1 serving), Grape Nuts (90% of iron needs in 1 serving). Other cereals may be similarly fortified, check your food labels. You can use rice milk or almond milk with these cereals if you are avoiding cows milk. Cooking in cast iron is another good way to add some iron to your diet.

The benefits of apple cider vinegar have not been fully verified with scientific testing. It's not harmful and if you want to enjoy it as part of regular diet (salad dressing, etc.) go for it.

Ask your Nephrologist (kidney doctor) for a referral to meet with a dietitian so that you can receive a personalized meal plan. Eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and getting appropriate exercise can help you maintain your kidney function.

Many thanks. Is gluten free diet better for iga patients?

Unless the person also has celiac disease or a diagnosed gluten intolerance, there may not be much benefit to following a gluten free diet.

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Many thanks. He is getting his allergies etc tested. He does not seem to have those issues but just to be sure.

The dieticians that my son has contacted do not recommend diet plans have given him handouts and are not very familiar with IGanephropathy where can we find renal dieticians in Nyc or Dc who could guide him better?

You can find a list of dietitians that are board certified in renal nutrition through this website: ams.eatright.org/eweb/Dynam...

Not everyone with renal expertise chooses to sit for the certification exam, you could also call some dietitian offices in your area and ask if they have anyone on staff with renal expertise.

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If I may ask, where are you based? Really appreciate your response. Thanks

I'm based in Orlando, FL

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You can also search by zip code and filter by specialty on the main eatright.org page (U.S. only). Find and Expert button on top right of page.

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Thanks so much.

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Are oats (glueten free) with rice or almond milk and berries a good breakfast option?

Is lemon water first thing in the morning as recommended by many good for iga and blood pressure?

A dietician also recommended cinnamon first thing in the morning? Is it helpful is there any scientific basis for this?

What type of oil is better for ckd?

Oats are a good option for breakfast, as long as your phosphorus level is normal. If phosphorus levels are high, oats should be limited to once or twice a week.

Lemon water in the morning likely does not provide any health benefit (it's not harmful either).

Cinnamon has been recommended to aid w/ glucose control, but I am unaware of it's benefit to the kidneys. I would need to do some research.

I recommend unsaturated oil, such as olive oil, for it's hear healthy benefits. It's best not to overdo any extra fats. So 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil would be an appropriate portion size per meal.

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Are lentils, rice and veggies (low potassium

And phosphorus) and salad a balanced diet for ckd?

Lentils tend to be high in phosphorus, but they are less likely to be absorbed from the body vs. phosphorus found from animal sources. Including lentils and beans regularly in the diet is a good strategy for those not yet on dialysis. As long as potassium and phosphorus levels remain normal, it is fine to include them in the diet.

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Thanks so much. His phosphorus is really good. And he eats lentils most week days🙏

So he should continue with that🙏?

Yes, continue current intake of lentils, as long as labs remain normal.

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I have CKD stage 3a and was told by my doctor to limit salt and protein in my diet. When I read online about a "kidney diet" it looks like I should also be limiting potassium and phosphorus too. Is it beneficial to limit these at stage 3a to protect my kidneys?

Potassium and phosphorus may not need to be restricted, depending on your current lab values. There will be plenty of food restrictions as you get closer to stage 4 and 5. If you're able to keep a wider variety of foods in your diet at stage 3a or 3b, that will help your overall health. Rather than avoiding many fruits, vegetables and whole grains, if it's not yet necessary.


My son (31 years old) does not drink any caffeine but any type of tea that you can recommend for him. He occasionally takes hibiscus tea. Is there any other tea or drink you would recommend for ckd patients?

Any eating out tips?

Many thanks!

The best beverage option is always water! There are no teas I am able to recommend. If anemic, avoid tea at meal time, as it may reduce iron absorption from food.

When eating out ask for sauce on the side (you can dip your fork tines in it and then spear your food to reduce the amount of fat and sodium from the sauce) and ask them to hold all salt when seasoning the food.

Many restaurants post their nutrition information online. Review the information before you go out to eat, so that you can choose the lower sodium options.

Portion sizes are generally too large, take half the meal home to also reduce sodium intake at one sitting.

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I have stage 3b, can I consumed red meat or do I have to stick to chicken and turkey?

Red meat (beef or pork) is ok. I advise people to limit consumption to 4 or 5 ounces, once a week. In renal failure it's more about the overall over consumption of animal proteins that is harmful to the kidney function. For heart disease it is certainly a better option to stick with chicken, turkey and fish (baked, broiled, grilled...not fried).

Any diet tips for lowering creatinine, blood pressure, proteinuria?

Is nettle leaf tea harmful/ helpful?

The main things that will help is being at a healthy weight for height and avoiding salt in excess of 2,000 mg per day. A healthy BMI is considered to be between 20 - 24.9. BMI over this level is harmful for blood pressure and kidney function.

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My son does not add any salt to his food. Is that ok long term?

There is enough sodium naturally occurring in food (vegetables, etc.) that there is no need to add extra to the diet.

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Other than olive oil is clarified butter or ghee in small amounts or mustard oil cold processed in small amounts ok?

All oil should be used sparingly, those that are higher in saturated fat are not as healthy for the heart. You can check your food labels for the breakdown of saturated fat vs. unsaturated fat.

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What type of flours (almond, oats, soy, chickpeas, wheat, millet etc) are good for kidney patients? Is store bought bread a complete no no?

There are low or no sodium breads you can find in the freezer section such as the Ezekiel brand. There is no one type of flour that is better than another.

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Any benefits of cranberries for ckd?


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Here's more on the kidneys and cranberry connection. Cranberries have no connection to CKD but some to UTIs; kidney.org/news/keephealthy...

With good potassium levels it is ok to have occasional tomatoes and leached potatoes then?

Potassium level should remain less than 5.

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Many, many thanks🙏🙏

As long as your potassium levels are normal you should be able to eat foods with potassium without a problem (i.e. no need to leach or limit).

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Thanks so much. This was very useful. I wish I could consult you more often🙏🙏🙏

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You're welcome! Good luck finding a local dietitian to help you.

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