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What Diet Should I Follow While on Dialysis?

One of the biggest questions for people on dialysis is what else they can do to slow the effects of kidney failure. If you suffer from chronic kidney disease, it is important for you to pay attention to your diet and nutrition.

General Guidelines

The best diet for renal health varies from person to person. The guidelines below are general suggestions that are good for people in kidney failure. Like with the proper amount of dialysis, specific food and drink choices can help improve how you feel.

Grilled Vegetables

Limit Your Fluid Intake

One of the functions of your kidney is to remove excess fluids. On the days between dialysis, your body holds on to any fluid you don’t use, which can cause swelling and elevate your blood pressure.

Eat a Low-Protein Diet

Unhealthy kidneys are not able to remove excess protein so it begins to build up in your body. The less excess protein in your diet, the less waste that builds up in your blood.

Avoid Salt and Potassium 

Though some sodium and potassium are necessary for your body to function, foods high in potassium (like bananas and apricots) and salty snacks should be avoided. You should get enough from other parts of your diet.

Restrict Phosphorus & Other Electrolytes

It is important for you to balance the electrolytes, minerals and fluids in your body. Foods high in phosphorus or electrolytes (milk, cheese, nuts, cola, Gatorade) are best left out of your diet.

Maintain Your Weight

Some patients who are overweight or obese while on dialysis could benefit from weight loss. However, patients need to maintain a healthy weight and calorie intake while on dialysis.

Preventing Build Up

Why do you need to restrict your diet if you are already on continual dialysis? The answer is pretty straightforward. Your kidneys are already under extensive stress, so you need to protect them from further damage. Fluids, protein, sodium, potassium and other materials build up in your body between dialysis.


In addition to putting pressure on your failing kidneys, this waste can cause swelling, heart failure and shortness of breath. By watching your diet, you can feel your best on dialysis and extend the life of your kidneys.


Speak with your doctor or a dietitian to design a specific dietary plan to accompany your dialysis.

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