The Renal Diet

The primary function of the kidneys is removing water and waste from the body. When your kidneys fail, you must learn to do for your body what your kidneys did for you automatically. As a renal patient, you now depend on dialysis to remove water and waste from your body.

By following a good renal diet, you reduce the amount of water and waste products produced and stored in your body between sessions. Specifically the renal diet works to reduce the amount of fluids, urea, protein and metabolism waste products, and the mineral waste products of sodium, potassium and phosphorous. By keeping the renal diet, you also help to control some of the more common complications of renal failure like fluid overload, itching and high blood potassium levels.

As a result, the renal diet is an important part of your treatment. For some renal patients practicing good renal nutrition means avoiding all "forbidden" foods while for others it means learning to take only moderate amounts of certain foods and counting exchanges.

Although the renal diet has some general basic principles that apply to all patients, the specifics of any individual renal diet will depend on your overall health and the type of treatment being given. You will have to explore, along with your doctor, dietitian and other health professionals, what will work best for you. You may have to apply special nutritional plans if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or any other condition that further limits your food choices. The key to good dietary management is planning.

Last updated on: February 22, 2008