43 Foods to Avoid When You Have Chronic Kidney Disease

One of our Readers asked in a previous article if it is possible to have Sea Moss if you suffer from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Certain foods can trigger a range of complications for sufferers of CKD, so it is very important to be across this.

I would like to state that the information that is provided on this website is not intended to be interpreted as medical advice. If you suffer from CKD and need specific dietary support, you will need to seek advice from a trusted professional in your area.

The information here may help with stimulating conversation about what you can and cannot have.

Treating Chronic Kidney Disease

Treating Chronic Kidney Disease effectively involves understanding the factors that contribute to its progression and adopting a lifestyle that promotes kidney health.

In this article, we delve into the dietary considerations for individuals with CKD, such as avoiding foods high in phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.

Sea moss, for instance, may not be a suitable choice for CKD patients, as it contains phosphates that can cause complications when consumed in excess. We will go into the specifics of this more a little later on.

A crucial aspect of managing Chronic Kidney Disease is adopting a well-rounded diet tailored to the specific needs of the individual.

This may include limiting processed foods, alcohol, certain fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. By monitoring and controlling these dietary elements, CKD patients can better manage their condition and reduce the risk of complications.

Additionally, early detection and intervention are vital in preventing further deterioration of kidney function. Recognising the early warning signs of kidney disease, such as changes in urine frequency and appearance, fatigue, and swelling in the extremities, can enable timely medical attention and intervention.

Treating Chronic Kidney Disease requires a comprehensive approach that focuses on a balanced diet, regular monitoring of kidney function, and adherence to medical advice. By making these lifestyle changes, individuals with CKD can better manage their condition, and prevent further damage to their kidneys.

Complications of CKD

As a progressive condition, Chronic Kidney Disease can lead to various complications if not effectively managed. One of the primary concerns for individuals with CKD is the accumulation of waste in the bloodstream due to the kidneys’ inability to filter toxins efficiently.

This accumulation can result in elevated blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases, leading to potential strokes or heart attacks.

Another significant complication associated with Chronic Kidney Disease is anemia or red blood cell health deficiencies. As kidney function declines, the production of erythropoietin, a hormone necessary for red blood cell formation, decreases, leading to anemia.

Additionally, CKD can negatively impact bone health as the kidneys lose their ability to regulate the balance of calcium and phosphorus in the body.

Furthermore, CKD patients may experience a reduced ability to maintain nutritional health, which can exacerbate existing health issues. In some cases, nerve damage may also occur due to the buildup of toxins in the bloodstream, leading to peripheral neuropathy.

Chronic Kidney Disease can result in various complications affecting multiple systems in the body. Effective management of CKD, through a well-rounded diet and medical intervention, is crucial to minimise these complications and enhance the quality of life for those affected by this condition.

Risk Factors of CKD

As a serious medical condition, Chronic Kidney Disease can lead to various compounding health complications. Identifying the risk factors associated with CKD is crucial for prevention and early intervention. Some of these risk factors are influenced by factors such as:

  • Gender
  • Body type
  • Ethnicity, and
  • Age.

One major risk factor for developing Chronic Kidney Disease is having an existing condition that directly affects kidney function.

Diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain autoimmune diseases can contribute to the onset of CKD. Managing these underlying conditions is essential to prevent or delay the progression of kidney disease.

Another critical risk factor for Chronic Kidney Disease is lifestyle choices.

Poor dietary habits, such as consuming excessive amounts of processed foods, high-sodium foods, and alcohol, can put additional strain on the kidneys and increase the risk of developing CKD.

Adopting a healthy diet and avoiding certain foods can help reduce the risk of CKD and its complications.

Moreover, factors such as a family history of kidney disease and aging can also increase the likelihood of developing Chronic Kidney Disease. Although some risk factors are beyond individual control, understanding and addressing modifiable factors can play a significant role in preventing or managing CKD.

Recognising the risk factors associated with Chronic Kidney Disease is crucial in preventing its onset and managing its progression. By addressing modifiable risk factors, individuals can minimise their chances of developing CKD and its associated complications.

Foods to Avoid with CKD

For those who aren’t aware, if you have the wrong kinds of foods and you suffer from this condition, you are likely to experience certain consequences as your body struggles to process them.

Plant-Based Diet in treating and preventing Chronic Kidney Disease

The most common impacts that are likely for someone with Chronic Kidney Disease may include, but not necessarily be limited to:

  • Accumulated waste in the bloodstream
  • Elevated blood pressure,
  • Red blood cell health deficiencies (anemia)
  • Deterioration of bone health
  • Reduction in ability to maintain nutritional health
  • Potential nerve damage, and
  • Subsequent heart and blood vessel disease resulting in possible stroke or heart attack.

Can I have Sea Moss if I have CKD?

Depending upon the species of seaweed being sold as Sea Moss, you may find that it is not a good idea to include this in your diet if you have been diagnosed with CKD.

If you choose to add Sea Moss to your diet, speak with your trusted Nephrologist (a Doctor who specialises in treating kidney conditions) or Dietitian about this and your particular stage of CKD first. 1

Depending upon your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) your potential for handling Sea Moss in your diet will be subject to this. You can get your eGFR through a blood test completed by your Doctor.

Your eGFR is influenced by a broad range of factors outside of your diet, these include your gender, body type, ethnicity, and your age. 2

Specific points of consideration that come to mind for me with making seaweeds a part of a diet particularly where Chronic Kidney Disease is a key consideration include the following.

Seaweeds Contain Phosphates

The phosphates (PO4-P) found in Sea Moss are also called reactive phosphorus or orthophosphate. Normal phosphate levels in the body are between 2.5 and 4.5 milligrams to decilitre. That’s equivalent to between 0.0025 grams and 0.0045 grams per 100 ml. 3

With the levels being as low as that, special consideration needs to be given to the volume of Sea Moss you’re consuming. The typical analysis yields data that shows 0.03% of the dry weight is Phosphorous (100g dry Sea Moss = ~0.03g Phosphorous content).

The average batch of Sea Moss Gel I get from a 125g (4.4oz) bag of dried Sea Moss is between 900g and 1.2kg (depending upon how thick I want it.

The thickness is predicated on what I’m using it for. If it is going into a Raw Red Velvet Cake, then it needs to be thicker, so there is much less water used when making the gel.

Let’s assume that the gel made from a 125g bag comes to 1kg (to keep the calculations easy). The dry 125g bag has a typical volume of Phosphorous of ~0.0375g (0.03%).

When this is made into a 1kg batch of gel, the concentration of Phosphorous from the 125g bag reduces to ~0.0046g with the water diluting the mix.

Normally, I would use about 2 to 4 tablespoons (~28g to ~56g) of gel as a serving per day. That’s between ~0.0002g (~0.2mg) and ~0.0005g (~0.5mg) of Phosphorous per serving.

Careful consideration of the impacts of having this much Phosphorous in your diet if you have CKD is required. Given there may be other sources of Phosphorous you may be exposed to consuming, seeking out additional sources probably isn’t a great idea.

What Foods to Avoid when you have Chronic Kidney Disease

The list of foods to avoid if you have CKD can seem quite long, but when you consider what is not included in it, there are still a lot of options open to you. You’ll just need to be a little creative to see your culinary world open up.

Some of the foods to avoid or keep to a minimum if you have Chronic Kidney Disease typically include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Canned or processed foods
    • Canned vegetables
    • Condiments
      • Soy Sauce
      • Garlic Salt
      • Sea Salt
    • Pickles and preserves
      • Olives
    • Premade or packaged foods
      • Chips
      • Chocolate
      • Crackers
      • Pretzels
    • Processed meats (including fish)
    • Relishes
  • Dark colored drinks
    • Fruit drinks
    • Iced teas
    • Sodas (cola-type color)
  • Grains and wholegrain bread and pasta
    • Bran
    • Brown rice
    • Lentils
    • Oatmeal and oats
    • Whole grain bread
    • Whole wheat bread
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fruits and fruit juices
    • Apricot
    • Avocado
    • Banana
    • Dates
    • Grapefruit
    • Melons
      • Cantaloupe
      • Honeydew
    • Orange
    • Prunes
    • Raisins
    • Tomato
  • Vegetables
    • Beans (dried)
    • Beet and collared greens
    • Kale
    • Potato
    • Pumpkin
    • Spinach
    • Sweet potato
    • Swiss chard
  • Dairy
  • Meat

Many high-fiber diets tend to have higher concentrations of phosphorus and potassium. This is particularly the case when looking at whole wheat and wholegrain bread.

If you are in the earlier stages of kidney disease, you may be able to still have these higher-fibre foods. However, when kidney disease progresses to a more chronic state it is unlikely that you’ll be able to still enjoy these. 4

As a preventative measure, before signs of kidney disease present themselves or get anywhere near being diagnosed as CKD, high-fiber diets may reduce kidney damage.

The fiber in foods is constantly shifting as far as consensus on the definition goes. Widely accepted to be ligins or carbohydrates that bypass the digestive process of the small intestine, these are then fermented in part or whole fermented in the large intestine or colon. 5 6 7

A good resource to consider is the Phosphorous Food Pyramid. 8

Also, check out the video below from the Forks Over Knives team. If you like what you see, you can register for the summit here. This will close off very soon, so if you miss out you may need to join their mailing list for the next event.

FAQs

What are the 3 early warning signs of Kidney Disease?

Three early warning signs of kidney disease include:

1) Swelling or edema – Kidneys help remove excess fluid from the body. When they are not functioning properly, fluid can build up, causing swelling in the ankles, legs, or around the eyes.

2) Changes in urination – Kidney disease may lead to changes in urine frequency, colour, or consistency. You may experience increased or decreased urination, foamy or bubbly urine, or a strong urge to urinate at night.

3) Fatigue and weakness – Healthy kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin, which stimulates red blood cell production. When kidneys are damaged, they produce less erythropoietin, leading to anemia, fatigue, and weakness.

If you notice any of these symptoms, consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and potential diagnosis.

What diet is best for Chronic Kidney Disease?

A diet tailored for individuals with Chronic Kidney Disease should focus on controlling phosphorus, potassium, and sodium intake while ensuring adequate calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

This typically includes consuming low-potassium fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, and low-phosphorus dairy products. Limiting processed foods, canned goods, and high-sodium condiments is also crucial.

Additionally, it’s essential to maintain proper hydration and avoid dark-coloured sodas, fruit drinks, and iced teas. As Chronic Kidney Disease stages progress, dietary restrictions may become more stringent.

How can I improve my chronic kidney function?

To improve chronic kidney function, focus on lifestyle changes and a kidney-friendly diet. Monitor and manage blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.

Restrict sodium, phosphorus, and potassium intake, and consume adequate amounts of high-quality protein.

Stay well-hydrated and maintain a healthy weight through regular exercise. Avoid smoking, limit alcohol consumption, and reduce the use of over-the-counter medications like NSAIDs, which can negatively impact kidney function.

Additionally, work closely with your healthcare team to regularly monitor kidney function, adjust medications, and create a personalised care plan to effectively manage your CKD.

What are the worst things for kidneys?

Some of the worst things for kidneys include:
• High-sodium foods – Excessive salt intake can cause high blood pressure, a major risk factor for kidney damage.
• Smoking – It can reduce blood flow to the kidneys, impairing their ability to function properly.
• Overuse of painkillers – Long-term use of non-prescription pain medications like NSAIDs can harm kidneys.
• Chronic dehydration – Not drinking enough water can stress the kidneys over time.
• Excessive alcohol consumption – It can cause kidney damage by exerting stress on the kidneys and contributing to high blood pressure.
• High-phosphorus and high-potassium foods – In people with compromised kidney function, excessive intake of these minerals can lead to further kidney damage.

How can I keep my Kidneys from getting worse?

To help prevent your kidneys from getting worse, follow these steps:
• Manage blood pressure and blood sugar – High blood pressure and diabetes are major risk factors for kidney disease. Regular checkups, medication adherence, and lifestyle changes can help control these conditions.
• Adopt a kidney-friendly diet – Limit foods high in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. Consume more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Consult a dietitian for personalised advice.
• Stay hydrated – Drinking sufficient water can help the kidneys remove toxins and maintain optimal function.
• Exercise regularly -Regular physical activity can improve overall health and help manage risk factors such as high blood pressure.
• Avoid smoking and limit alcohol intake – Both smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can worsen kidney health.
• Monitor kidney function – Regular checkups can detect early signs of kidney damage, allowing for prompt treatment and management.

Is cheese bad for the Kidneys?

Cheese can be harmful to kidneys, especially for people with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Cheese is typically high in sodium, phosphorus, and sometimes potassium—minerals that need to be limited in a kidney-friendly diet.

Excessive intake of these minerals can lead to complications for individuals with CKD, as their kidneys are unable to effectively filter and balance these nutrients. However, not all cheese is created equal. Low-sodium and low-phosphorus cheese options are available and can be consumed in moderation.

Are carrots good for Kidneys?

Yes, carrots are generally good for kidney health. They are low in potassium and phosphorus, making them suitable for individuals with kidney disease who need to restrict these nutrients.

Carrots are also high in antioxidants like beta-carotene, which can help protect the kidneys from damage. Moreover, they contain fibre, vitamins, and minerals, all of which contribute to overall health and may assist in reducing the likelihood of Chronic Kidney Disease.

Conclusion

Understanding Chronic Kidney Disease and its potential complications is vital for individuals at risk or living with the condition.

Adopting a kidney-friendly diet, avoiding harmful substances, and being mindful of factors that may worsen kidney function can significantly impact one’s overall health.

By working closely with healthcare professionals and addressing modifiable risk factors, individuals can improve their kidney function, slow the progression of CKD, and lead a healthier life. Staying informed and making proactive choices is essential for managing this chronic condition and maintaining an improved quality of life.

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References

  1. “Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)” – American Kidney Fund, 15 September 2021 [AKF] [Archive] ↩︎
  2. “Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate Test (GFR & eGFR)” – American Kidney Fund, 7 September 2021 [AKF] [Archive] ↩︎
  3. “CKD: A Guide to Higher Fiber Foods” – W. J. Dahl, N. J. Gal, January 2018 [IFAS] [Archive] ↩︎
  4. “Phosphorus metabolism in chronic kidney disease” – C. Fourtounas, January 2011 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  5. “New Horizons for the Study of Dietary Fiber and Health: A Review” – S. Fuller, E. Beck, H. Salman, L. Tapsell, March 2016 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  6. “On defining dietary fiber” – J. W. DeVries, February 2003 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  7. “High Fiber Diet” – A. Akbar, A. P. Shreenath, 9 May 2021 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  8. “The “phosphorus pyramid”: a visual tool for dietary phosphate management in dialysis and CKD patients” – C. D’Alessandro, G. B. Piccoli, A. Cupisti, January 2015 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎

Last Updated on 1 week by D&C Editorial Team

4 thoughts on “43 Foods to Avoid When You Have Chronic Kidney Disease”

    • Hello Yolanda,

      Purple Sea Moss is simply the normal Sea Moss you are likely to buy but it hasn’t been sun-bleached. We have yet to find any proven evidence that suggests it has any additional benefits or nutritional values to the sun-bleached version, however, I can tell you that the process of sun-bleaching we use is natural and involves no chemicals. There is a liquid run-off from the seaweed that looks like a milky white water which is salty to taste.

      I hope this helps you.

  1. So what kind of seamoss should I use for ckd.how can I no I got the right stuff where the best place to order purple sea moss

    • Thank you for sharing your kind feedback. We’re glad you found value in this recipe.

Comments are closed.

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About the Author

Matthew has been on an active journey towards living a healthy life from a young age. Influenced by his Grandmother, a practicing Naturopath who served her community from the 1940's to the 1980's, his views on living holistically were shaped from a young age. Growing up in different parts of Australia, his connection with the Ocean and a passion for sustainability comes through in everything he does and shares.

"I'm not a Doctor, and I don't play one on the Internet." - me

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