Diet for Kidney Disease

I have been researching extensively about health in general. I came across a Dr Walter Kempner who using the Rice diet was able to reverse kidney disease. I do not want to give false hope, but I would like to give some hope. What I am saying is, look and research this doctor and make up your own mind about what he was able to achieve. Although he used white rice, I would advocate using brown rice, as white rice no longer holds very much nutritional value. A little hope is better than none, sometimes.

I have changed my whole diet, and no longer eat any processed food or meat, or dairy. I started this journey 1st November 2015. I am not a doctor, or nutritionist, but I have a brain, and I have come to realise that food can be your medicine or your poison.

28 Replies

  • You have to be carefull on claims that you can reverse damage it all depends what has caused it whilst a good diet is good for you its common sense too much processed food & high fat etc is not good for anyone anyway People with CKF have to follow specific diets sometimes my hubby has to have dairy to replace the protiens lost through CKF & he has white rice instead of wholemeal as its higher in phosphate!

    so be very careful follow a good healthy diet with plenty of fruit & veg thats the best advice!

  • You can get protein from vegetables, I do not eat dairy at all, nor do cows and they have plenty of protein. I juice lots of vegetables so that I get enough protein. We are not suppose to eat dairy and we are the only living animals that do. I am just saying for people to research an alternative diet and maybe that could help them. Processed food gives no nutrients to ones body, vegetables and fruit do. You are right there are lots of different causes of CKD and one cure fits all is not appropriate.

  • It is harder for your body to process protein from veg we are vegetarians ourselves & my hubby has a problem with keeping the protein levels high enough as your kidneys leach it out when they have failed so very difficult to keep levels up despite him eating well he has to eat 6 eggs pw as well as the beans & pulses i use! so to have no dairy at all would damage the rest of his body! for a normal person you could get away with it easily!

  • I have CKD stage 2, and I don't want it to progress, never was told I had stage 1. I have a masticating juicer, this juicer is able to breakdown green vegetables and extract the protein amongst other nutrients. Centrifugal juicers and food processors don't enable you to extract all the protein and they also destroy enzymes. A masticating juicer does not heat and you keep most of the vitamins and minerals. Vegetables juiced give you h3o water which is the best water there is. Shop bought juice is useless as it has been homaginised and that kills beneficial enzymes, and a lot of the time they add sugar as well.

  • Following your line of arguement that only humans eat dairy so we shouldnt, then are you advocating eating raw uncooked meat - no other animal boths to cook their kill on the BBQ

  • To anyone who eats rice, I suggest doing an Internet search to find which kind of rice, domestic or imported, where you live, is safest to eat in terms of potential arsenic contamination from pesticides. I read about this, and feel good that the rice I eat is free of arsenic contamination.

  • what kind of rice do you use and which countries should I avoid rice from? thanks, Trudy

  • Hi Jackie, at the moment I am following a plant based diet based on Dr T Colin Campbell and Dr Caldwell Esselstyn. I am having a blood test on 7th December and depending on those results will determine what I do next. If I am still stage 2 then I will stick to the plant based diet. If I am closer or am stage 3 then I will try the rice diet. I had started the plant based diet then found out about the Rice diet. I am hoping that the plant based diet works as it is good for prevention and reversal of heart disease. It is a very strict diet but my taste buds have changed and I am going to allow myself once every 2 months to have a naughty day eg eat something that I am not suppose to. If after researching Dr Kempner you wish to follow his diet, make sure you don't buy rice that has arsenic. The best way to ensure that is to buy organic rice. I do not know what stage CKD you have but please check with a doctor before starting a restrictive diet. I have to take vitamin b12 supplements as it is the only vitamin that I can't get on my diet. I have done a lot of research on the plant based diet and know which foods give me which vitamins or minerals. I no longer eat processed food, and don't miss it, but I do miss meat. I hope this helps, if not reply to this and I will try to help you.

  • thank you so much for your detailed answer I really appreciate it. When I originally had my blood test a year ago my GFR was 67. Then I had it tested again in September of this year and it was 68 (creatinine 80). An online doctor (you pay for a question and a specialist - in my case a Nephrologist ) answers your concerns. I gave him all my information and he said I had Stage 3 Cronic Kidney Disease!!

    On the other side of things, both numbers (67 and 68) were deemed "normal" by my GP. I tried arguing with her but she kept saying there is no problem.

    Now I was tested again on November 12th and My Creatinine was 66 and my GFR was 86! The only thing I did differently was to cut out alchohol and drink 2 litres of filtered water daily. Another difference between me and you is that I haven't eaten any red meat since 1987 so my protein level was WAY low which I am trying to fix by taking vitamen B12 sublingually.

    I will Google Dr T Colin Campbell and Dr Caldwell Esselstyn and see about their diet advice. Thanks again! Trudy Urquhart

  • You are very welcome. I have had similar talks with my doctor and she has said it is about whether you have blood in your urine. Not just your Creatinine and eGfr levels. Not everyone with CKD will go on to stage 4 so they just monitor you. I do feel angry that they have been aware of my condition since 2011, but I only found out by accident when I asked for my blood results for something else. Now that I am aware I to filter my water and try to eat organic. If you can watch a documentary called Forks over knives, and A world without cancer they are so enlightening. I am going to train to be a Naturopathic Nutritionist and hopefully help others.

  • I've heard more false claims about the curing of renal disease than I've had hot dinners. Check with the NKF, BKPA or your renal professional before doing anything which could compromise your health.

  • Yes always check with your health professional before embarking on a new diet. What I can say is that eating processed or junk food will hasten your kidney disease. If you can try to eat as much natural food as possible. Meaning, fresh organic vegetables and fruit, because pesticides are only going to make your kidneys work that much harder. Not everyone can afford organic, so buy organic seeds from eBay or Amazon and soak them in water for 12 hours (not all at once just about 15 or so. Then place them in a strainer by your window and twice a day rinse with water do this for 3 days. Then either put in the fridge and eat over a salad or just by themselves, or plant in soil and grow them. Do this with a variety of green vegetables such as spinach, kale, collards, broccoli even if you live in a flat you can do this.

  • What I described above is called sprouting, please look up how to sprout individual seeds either on uTube or contact me. Sprouts are higher in nutrients than the full grown vegetable. you can even grow some vegetables and fruit from what you have bought in the shop. There are aero gardens that you can purchase so that you can grow blueberries, tomatoes, strawberries etc all year round but these are expensive to purchase, but long term will save you money and they are cheap to run because they use led lights.

  • I agree with you. Brown rice is better than white rice,specifically, for those who are diabetic. Again, I agree with you when you say proper meals are the first medicine. Limiting protein.salt, fat and sugar is important too. brisk walking and physical activities are good. Last but not the least is trying not to have stress and anxiety. I think psychological disorders cause physical problems. So, trying not to be worried and having enough rest and being self-reliant are also important. Good luck.

  • I'm thinking the white rice is preferred because it has 20% less Potassium. You want to restrict your Potassium when you are in the earlier stages of CKD, at least that is what I interpret. Does seem to be an awful lot of contradictory info out there dealing with not only the CKD diet ( my head is spinning ) but such things as water intake and exercise. I will respond to Jess for some other thoughts on diet.

  • Yes, there is a lot if contradictory advice out there. What I can tell you is the first thing I did when I got diagnosed was buy a water filter. Fluoride and chlorine are not good for the kidneys. I also buy bottled mineral water when I can afford it. I have watched lots of documentaries on food as well as follow 4 doctors, and bought their books and recipes. I do believe that what we eat today causes many of today's illnesses, therefore by changing our diet we can improve the inflammation caused by our bad food choices. Exercise and being able to avoid or deal with stress. I have heart disease in my family and so I decided to follow a Whole Plant based diet. I have faulted on 2 days, because it is so drastic to what I had before, and I just carry on when I do, and do not berate myself, because i am eating so much better than I did. Personally, I would urge everyone to get a filter that gets rid of chlorine and fluoride and buy a juicer. This way you can get vital micro nutrients without having to eat them all. I now eat 20 different vegetables a day because of juicing and I take vitamin b12 because on a vegetarian diet you cannot get enough, and D3 because I am deficient. If you want to know more just reply, I would be glad to help. I am not selling anything, or do I work for anyone I am totally neutral.

  • I forgot to tell you that phosphorous foods and potassium must be limited too. A diet of fresh vegetables and fruits is very good too.

  • I agree - thank.s for the Dr. Kempner lead!

  • Good thread. I guess I'm CKD 3B, I guess but that can be a new thread. I been trying to research stuff trying to see how to slow this down to a halt and wishing I could reverse it. Anyways what I read, in the stages of CKD that precede dialysis, one needs to limit their intake of the 3 P's. Those being Protein, Potassium and Phosphorus. Also Sodium needs to be restricted. The white rice has 20% less Potassium than the brown so that is why I believe he specifies white. Not to be a downer but the problem with beans, which I love, is they are full of Protein. I think meat or beans, your kidney just sees Protien. They look to be close in Potassium generally speaking. Since you are vegging, know your fruits and veggies as far as Potassium. I already know some of my favorites are no nos. Potatoes, tomatoes, artichokes, raw spinach, bananas, oranges, Jack fruit ( since I live in the Philippines ), mangos, figs ( my favorite ), dried fruits and all nuts, they all are high in Potassium. Funny thing is I'm going to try Parsley Tea which is advertised as a kidney cleaner for CKD but it's also high in Potassium ??? Here is a good read on a quick summary of CKD diet parameters and some home remedies. Besides the Parsley Tea, the Apple Cider Vinegar with honey and the idea of an Aloe Vera drink (I got some growing ) sound good too.

  • Thank you very much. Tomatoes aren't as bad as they say, especially if you remove the skin. With skin on they contain 192mg of potassium per 123g whereas soy beans have 3342mg per 186g. Your heart and nerves do need a certain amount of potassium so obviously have the low amounts of veg and fruit and keep a check on your blood levels of potassium. Protein should be limited to 5-10 percent for everyone per day, this can prevent cancer see the China Study and Dr T Colin Campbell. No salt is allowed on this diet, which I am following. If you follow this diet there is no dairy which is high in phosphorus eg cheese and yoghurt. No meat which also are and soya foods.

  • Check with your doctor how many mg of potassium and phosphorus you should take each day. Then google foods you like and check their levels and foods that are low in them. Then by keeping a food diary of what you eat in between your blood tests you could workout a plan of what you can and can't eat. The parsley tea sounds great as does the apple cider vinegar and aloe Vera. I wish you the best in halting and hopefully reversing CKD.

  • Whatever way you look at it you have to keep yourself healthy. Brown rice and salad diet is better for the heart and that will be better for your kidney. Potassium may not be the biggest problem but saying that I looked up 2nd stage renal failure and it said in all probability a person is more likely to die from heart failure if they have been dianosed with such. Kidneys don't do so well with salt and high blood pressure.

  • Hi, I have personally attended the Rice Diet, started by Dr. Kempner, in Durham. N. Carolina, USA. Following his passing two excellent doctors continued the program until Autumn of 2013, when they retired. I spent many months there is 2003 and 2013. The original diet was developed to treat people with extreme high blood pressure, as there were no antihypertensive meds back then. People lived at the centre during treatment, which consisted of less than 50mg sodium per day. The result was rapid diuresis and lower BP. On such a diet, you must be monitored by a doctor daily. However, once people went home and began to eat more normal diets, everything returned. The Rice Diet consisted of 500 calories of vegan food daily, eaten at the centre, with sodium restricted to 50mg daily. By the way, the use of rice was incidental; there is no magic to it, it's just low in sodium and calories. We also ate oats, beans, grains, and lots of veggies, and 6oz fish once per week. The diet is very hard to maintain long-term. Over the years, people went there for weight loss mostly, which it did temporarily produce. IMHO, the best diet for CKD is low potassium, low phosphorus, mostly vegan. I am a registered nurse with Stage 3b CKD. I live in the UK now, and I feel my GP is a little too conservative in treatment. I think we should take it upon ourselves to adhere to a kidney friendly diet, which for me includes NO carbonated sodas. Forks Over Knives and China Study are both good, but a moderate approach that a person can sustain long term is the way forward for me, I feel. as you wisely say, food can be your medicine or your poison.

  • Thank you for contributing your personal experience. I agree potassium stresses the kidneys, and sodium. Ironically potassium also can rid your body of excess water caused by sodium. Celery has the highest sodium content from vegetables.

    A strict diet is very hard, especially if you have to follow it for the rest of your life. After being on a plant based diet for around 6 weeks I improved the serum creatinine from 74 to 62. My urea level dropped from 3.2 to 3.1 but I am not sure if that is because I am on a low protein diet as well. I have spent the last week eating meat and found myself so tired again, stomach pains, so I have decided to get back on track with the plant based diet. I am not going to scold myself when I go off course, just encourage myself to get back on it. No matter whether I stray or not, I always have my morning juice. Juicing is better than the most expensive supplement you could ever buy, just make sure it is organic produce. I have found a farm in Wales that will sell me organic vegetables and fruit wholesale. Ocado doe lots of organic juicing vegetables and fruit, look for the ones that say juicing as they cost a lot less.

  • You sound very reasonable and well informed. I'm with you on the organic front - it's so important to me! I live in southern England, thanks for the Ocado tip.

  • Thank you kindly. Try to juice daily as you give your stomach which is responsible for your immune system and hormones and feeling happy levels a chance to spend time on helping that, it will also help your kidneys function better. My stomach doesn't give me the nutrients I need from food but juicing does. Do have a smoothie as well, but try to have a juice last thing at night and first thing in the morning and don't eat for 2 hours after. Those 2 hours are when your body will use the nutrients and your liver can get rid of the toxins. Feed your cells with nutrients from living plants and it can heal itself, but you can't eat processed food.

  • Have you ever thought of looking at natural herbs such as Burdock, it is helpful in supporting kidney function. if traditional medicine is not working why not research herbal medicines, or even join a course to find other ways to help yourself. Please always inform your doctor before taking any herbs and check for contra-indications. Drink filtered or bottled water, and try to eat as much organic food as you can to avoid over loading your kidneys with more toxins.

  • And Hippocrates said "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food". Today's food especially processed food has hardly any nutritional value. If you can eat one raw plate of food a day you will give your body vital nutrients to fight whatever problems it needs to face. Juice, make healthy smoothies, and your body will thank you.

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