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). There are certain foods that 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 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.

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

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.

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

  • Accumulated waste in the blood stream
  • 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 do choose to add Sea Moss to your diet, speak with your trusted Nephrologist 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 CKD is a key consideration includes the following.

Seaweeds Contain Phosphates

The phosphates (PO4-P) found in Sea Moss, 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. 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 then 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 on 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 (CKD)

The list of foods to avoid if you have CKD can seem quite long, but when you consider what is not included on 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 CKD 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 coloured drinks
    • Fruit drinks
    • Iced teas
    • Sodas (cola type colour)
  • Grains and wholegrain breads and pastas
    • Bran
    • Brown rice
    • Lentils
    • Oatmeal and oats
    • Whole grain breads
    • Whole wheat breads
  • 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 breads.

If you are in the earlier stages of kidney disease, you may be able to still have these higher fiber 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.

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 in 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.

References

  1. “Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)” – American Kidney Fund, 15 September 2021 [AKF]
  2. “Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate Test (GFR & eGFR)” – American Kidney Fund, 7 September 2021 [AKF]
  3. “CKD: A Guide to Higher Fiber Foods” – W. J. Dahl, N. J. Gal, January 2018 [IFAS]
  4. “Phosphorus metabolism in chronic kidney disease” – C. Fourtounas, January 2011 [PubMed]
  5. “New Horizons for the Study of Dietary Fiber and Health: A Review” – S. Fuller, E. Beck, H. Salman, L. Tapsell, March 2016 [PubMed]
  6. “On defining dietary fiber” – J. W. DeVries, February 2003 [PubMed]
  7. “High Fiber Diet” – A. Akbar, A. P. Shreenath, 9 May 2021 [PubMed]
  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]
www.detoxandcure.com - Matthew Carpenter

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 in the 1940'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.

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