Chronic
kidney disease
, also known as CKD, is characterized by a progressive
loss of kidney function over time.

Kidney disease is divided into five stages based on your
eGFR (estimated
glomerular filtration rate
) and how well your kidneys can filter out
waste and excess fluid. 

Stage 3 kidney disease occurs when you have an eGFR of
30–59. This means there is moderate damage to your kidneys.
1

If you have stage 3 kidney disease, you may not experience
significant symptoms. However, by this stage, you are at risk for health
complications as waste begins to build up in your body.

The good news is that you can make dietary changes to avoid
the progression of kidney failure.

This article will discuss foods you should avoid if you have
kidney disease.

To delay the progression of kidney
disease, it’s important to adhere to a kidney-friendly diet. You’ll want to
limit foods high in potassium, sodium, and phosphorus unless otherwise
instructed by your healthcare provider.

Here’s
a look at some of the top foods to avoid with stage 3 chronic kidney disease.

Whole Grain Bread

Typically,
whole grain bread is recommended over white bread for individuals without
kidney disease because it is rich in fiber and other important vitamins and
minerals.

However,
a person with moderate to advanced kidney disease is usually told to limit
whole grain bread because it contains more potassium and phosphorus than white
bread.

For example, one slice (28 grams) of whole
grain bread contains:
2

  • About 69 milligrams of potassium
  • 57 milligrams of phosphorus In comparison, the same size slice of white bread contains:3
  • 32.8 milligrams of potassium
  • 31.6 milligrams of phosphorus

Bran Cereals and Oatmeal

When
shopping for cold and hot cereals, be sure to look at the food label. Many
cereals that you find at the grocery store are filled with hidden:

  • Sodium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

Limit
or avoid cereals with the word phosphorus or “phos” listed on the
ingredient list. A 3/4 cup of bran flakes cereal contains about:
4

  • 160 milligrams of
    potassium
  • 135 milligrams of
    phosphorus

One cup of cooked oatmeal contains:5

  • 180 milligrams of
    phosphorus
  • 164 milligrams of potassi
  • Nuts and Sunflower Seeds

Nuts
and seeds are popular, healthy snacks for most people. However, for a person
with kidney disease, they can be harmful.

A
1 ounce serving, or about 23 almonds, contains about:
6

  • 208 milligrams of
    potassium
  • 136 milligrams of
    phosphorus

Cashews
contain about:
7

  • 187 milligrams of
    potassium
  • 168 milligrams of
    phosphorus

If
you enjoy nuts and sunflower seeds, consider pairing them with other
low-potassium and low-phosphorus meal options. Alternatively, choose nuts that
are lower in phosphorus.

Dark-Colored Soda

Most
dark-colored sodas are high in phosphorus additives to help preserve shelf life
and enhance the flavor. They are also high in calories and sugar and should be
limited on all diets.

Most
dark-colored sodas contain anywhere from 50–100 milligrams of phosphorus in a
200 milliliter serving.
9

Studies
show that the absorption rate for phosphorus additives is higher than natural
or plant-based phosphorus.
10

Root
beer is an exception, with less than 1 milligram of phosphorus and potassium
per serving.
11

The best beverages to drink on a
kidney diet are water, cream soda, lemon-lime soda (such as Sprite or 7UP),
lemonade, or root beer.

Canned Foods

Canned
foods, including soups, vegetables, meats, and seafood, are popular because
they are a quick and convenient way to add more nutrient-rich foods to your
diet.

However,
most canned foods are high in sodium because salt is often used as a
preservative to extend their shelf life.

Since
a person with stage 3 chronic kidney disease cannot get rid of excess sodium,
canned foods should be limited.
1

Choose lower-sodium canned foods such
as those labeled “no salt added” to reduce your daily sodium intake.
You can also drain and rinse canned foods to reduce their overall sodium
content.

Avocados

Avocados
are a great source of heart-healthy fats and important vitamins and minerals.
However, they are high in potassium and should be avoided on a kidney diet.

One
avocado contains approximately 690 milligrams of potassium.
12

If
your healthcare provider has instructed you to limit potassium, you’ll want to
avoid or limit avocado or guacamole consumption.

Although avocados are high in
potassium, they can still be enjoyed in small quantities as part of a
kidney-friendly diet. Limit the amount to one-fourth of a medium-sized avocado
to keep your overall daily potassium intake low.

Dairy

Dairy
products such as cheese, yogurt, milk, and ice cream are a good source of
calcium, protein, and other important nutrients. They are also high in
phosphorus and pot
A person with stage 3 kidney disease may need to limit protein, phosphorus, and
potassium.

One
cup of 2% milk contains:
13

  • 8 grams of protein
  • 252 milligrams of phosphorus
  • 390 milligrams of potassium

Consider dairy alternatives such as
almond milk, soy milk, and rice milk. These options typically have less
protein, phosphorus, and potassium compared to cow’s milk.

Brown Rice

Brown
rice is a whole grain that is high in fiber and is often recommended for
healthy individuals to promote heart health.

However,
like whole grain bread, brown rice has a higher phosphorus and potassium
content than white rice.

For
example, 1 cup of cooked brown rice contains about:
14

  • 208 milligrams of phosphorus
  • 174 milligrams of potassium

In
comparison, 1 cup of cooked white rice contains:
15

  • 69 milligrams of phosphorus
  • 54 milligrams of potassium

White rice, wild rice, barley, and
buckwheat have a lower potassium and phosphorus content than brown rice and are
great alternatives.

Bananas

Bananas
are one of the best dietary sources of potassium. One medium banana contains a
whopping 422 milligrams of potassium.
16

On a
kidney diet, it’s important to limit the amount of potassium to avoid excess
buildup in the blood, which can lead to heart problems.
17

Instead of bananas, opt for
kidney-friendly fruit options such as apples and berries.

Oranges

Oranges
and orange juice are both high in potassium. One orange contains around 255
milligrams of potassium.
18

One
cup of orange juice contains 443 milligrams of potassium.
19 If you’ve been instructed by
your dietitian or kidney doctor to limit potassium intake, you’ll want to avoid
orange or orange juice.

Instead of oranges or orange juice,
opt for a kidney-friendly fruit option like pineapple or pineapple juice. Other
kidney-friendly fruit juice options include apple juice, cranberry juice, or
grape juice.

Potatoes

Potatoes
are naturally high in potassium. One medium potato contains around 610
milligrams of potassium.
20

Fortunately,
there are ways to reduce the potassium content in potatoes. One of the best
ways to lower the potassium content in potatoes is by a method known as
leaching (soaking them in water) before cooking.

The
most effective way to remove potassium through leaching is by cutting the
potatoes up into small pieces and boiling them in water for approximately 10
minutes. Doing so can reduce the potassium content by at least half the
original amount.
21

If you plan to include potatoes as a
part of your kidney-friendly diet, leaching or boiling them can reduce the
potassium content by as much as 50%.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes
are a high-potassium fruit that is often restricted or limited in those with
stage 3 kidney disease.

This
includes both raw tomatoes and tomato sauce. For example, 1 cup of tomato sauce
contains around 910 milligrams of potassium.
22

One
medium tomato contains around 292 milligrams of potassium.
23 If you’ve been instructed to
limit potassium, tomatoes and tomato sauce should be avoided.

Instead of tomato sauce, opt for a
delicious roasted red pepper sauce that has less potassium per serving.

Granola

Most
granola is made with oats. While granola is a healthy option for most, it
should be limited on a kidney diet because of its potassium content.

Two
ounces of granola has approximately 306 milligrams of potassium.
24

Instead of store-bought granola,
consider making your own kidney-friendly homemade
granola
 with lower potassium.

Beans

Beans
are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. However, they can also
increase the amount of potassium and phosphorus circulating in your blood if
consumed in large quantities.

Recently,
studies have suggested that beans and legumes are a good source of protein for
those with chronic kidney disease.
25 Still, guidelines recommend
limiting the intake of beans due to their phosphorus and potassium content.

For
example, 1 cup of cooked pinto beans contains 251 milligrams of phosphorus and
746 milligrams of potassium.
26

Leaching beans and legumes before
cooking can help decrease the potassium content. However, be sure to speak with
your kidney dietitian to discuss the amount of leached high-potassium
vegetables that can be safely consumed.

Processed Meats

Processed
meats are meats that have been cured, salted, smoked, or fermented to improve
flavor and extend shelf life.

Examples
of processed meats include hot dogs, sausage, beef jerky, corned beef, and
pepperoni.

Intake
of processed meat and red meats is associated with a higher risk for chronic
kidney disease.
27

Processed
meat is not only high in sodium, but it is also high in protein.

Instead of processed meats, opt for
skinless turkey or chicken, fresh fish, or eggs. Remember, these are still high
in protein, so be sure to speak with your dietitian to find out how much
protein you need.

Pickles and Relish

Pickles
and relish are cured foods. They are high in sodium and should be avoided on a
kidney diet.

For
example, one large pickle contains around 1,630 milligrams of sodium. A
kidney-friendly diet usually recommends a person stay below 2,300 milligrams of
sodium per day.
28

Pickles and relish are high in sodium
and should be avoided on a kidney diet. If you’re craving a pickle, opt for
low-sodium pickles to limit your daily sodium intake. Low-sodium options still
contain sodium, so it’s important to read food labels to be sure it fits in
your recommended sodium intake.

Apricots

With
stage 3 chronic kidney disease, it’s best to avoid apricots because of their
potassium content. One cup of sliced apricots has 427 milligrams of potassium.
29

Moreover,
1 cup of dried apricots provides around 1,510 milligrams of potassium. This can
easily take up your daily recommended potassium intake.

Typically,
a person on a potassium-restricted diet should limit potassium intake to less
than 2,000 milligrams per day.
30

Instead of apricots, choose a
kidney-friendly fruit such as plums or peaches to stay within your recommended
daily potassium range.

Premade or Frozen Meals

Most
processed foods, including premade or frozen meals, are high in sodium.
Examples include frozen pizza, prepackaged frozen dinners, and soups.

Many
premade meals can account for most of your recommended daily sodium allowance,
making it important to avoid them on a kidney diet.

When choosing premade or frozen meals,
opt for choices with less than 600 milligrams of sodium per meal.
31 Alternatively, you can meal prep
and freeze your own low-sodium, kidney-friendly meals that can be heated in
just a few minutes.

Swiss Chard, Spinach, and Beet Greens

Most
leafy green vegetables, including Swiss chard, spinach, and beet greens, are
not recommended on a kidney diet due to their potassium content.

For
example, 1 cup of cooked spinach contains around 839 milligrams of potassium,
which is nearly half of the daily recommended amount for someone with stage 3
chronic kidney disease.
32

Opt for lower potassium green
vegetables such as green beans, asparagus, lettuce, and celery to limit your
daily potassium intake.

Dried Fruits

Many
dried fruits such as apricots, raisins, and prunes are high in potassium,
sugar, and calories.

For
example, 1 cup of prunes contains 1,270 milligrams of potassium.
33 However, the potassium is
significantly reduced in its raw state. One cup of plums contains just 259
milligrams of potassium.
34

Instead of high-potassium dried
fruits, opt for fresh fruits. Choose low potassium fruits such as figs, plums,
or grapes.

Pretzels, Chips, and Crackers

Snack
foods such as pretzels, chips, and crackers are typically high in sodium. They
also lack important nutrients your body needs to function properly.

Potato
chips are also high in potassium since they are made from potatoes and should
be avoided.

One
small bag of potato chips (22 chips) contains around 150 milligrams of sodium
and 336 milligrams of potassium.
35

Instead of pretzels, chips, and
crackers choose low-sodium snacks. Good kidney-friendly snack options include
unsalted popcorn, low-sodium crackers, and pita chips.

Summary

If
you have stage 3 chronic kidney disease, lowering your potassium, phosphorus,
and sodium intake can help prevent or delay health problems associated with
kidney disease.

It’s
important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all diet for every person with
chronic kidney disease. To get a customized meal plan, speak with your
nephrologist (kidney specialist) or dietitian, who can tell you what foods you
can eat based on your labs and kidney function.

A Word From Verywell

Following
a kidney-friendly diet can feel restrictive at times. The good news is, working
closely with a registered dietitian can help you customize your meal plan based
on your individual preferences and lifestyle.

To
locate a dietitian near you, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and
search under “Find
a Nutrition Expert
.”

 


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2022-03-24

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