Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid

If you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), determining which foods to eat and avoid can be challenging. Different stages of CKD call for varying amounts of certain nutrients, so recommendations change depending on how damaged the kidneys are. To determine personalized dietary needs based on your lab values, goals, and disease severity, meet with a renal dietitian. Keep reading to learn more about general CKD diet guidelines, including which foods you may need to reconsider.

Eat Less Sodium 

With CKD, your kidneys gradually lose their ability to filter excess sodium out of the blood. This build-up can lead to elevated blood pressure and fluid retention. Eating less sodium helps lower blood pressure and reduce fluid build-up around the heart (1). Aim to eat less than 1500 mg of sodium daily (2). Follow the tips below to reduce your sodium intake.

  • Ditch the salt shaker (experiment with other herbs and spices)
  • Buy fresh foods when possible
  • Choose canned goods labeled “low sodium” or “reduced sodium”
  • Rinse canned vegetables and beans with water to remove extra salt
  • Limit your intake of processed and fast foods

Eat the Right Amount of Protein:

With CKD, the kidneys struggle to remove toxic nitrogenous waste from the blood that results from protein metabolism. When too much protein is consumed, the kidneys work overtime to remove this waste, potentially leading to further kidney damage.

Protein needs vary depending on the stage of CKD. As CKD advances, a gradual reduction of protein intake is necessary. To reduce protein consumption, focus on eating more plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Plant protein sources typically have fewer grams of protein per serving than animal sources.

However, protein needs increase once kidney failure occurs and dialysis begins. Dialysis removes nitrogenous waste from the blood, so a low-protein diet is no longer needed. To increase your protein intake, eat a variety of plant and animal protein sources like poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Reduce your Potassium and Phosphorus Intake:

Depending on the severity of your kidney disease, you might need to limit your intake of foods high in potassium and phosphorus. CKD makes it harder for your kidneys to remove extra potassium and phosphorus from the blood. A build-up of potassium could lead to heart problems, and too much phosphorus may result in weakened bones (3).

If your kidneys are struggling to remove potassium from your blood, consider eating less high-potassium foods like bananas, avocados, potatoes, oranges, and tomatoes. If your phosphorus levels are high, you might need to reduce your portion sizes of meat, poultry, fish, dairy, beans, and nuts.

Avoid Drinking Too Much Fluid:

If you have CKD, you could notice swelling from fluid retention. Swelling occurs when damaged kidneys can’t remove excess fluid from the blood. A surplus of fluids in the bloodstream may increase blood pressure and put unnecessary stress on the heart. Drinking fewer fluids is sometimes necessary to manage blood volume. A dietitian or healthcare provider can help you determine how much liquid is best for you.

To learn more about dietary recommendations for CKD, click here.


When the kidneys are damaged, they struggle to maintain optimal levels of electrolytes, fluids, and protein waste products in the blood. As the kidneys progressively become more damaged, your intake of sodium, protein, potassium, phosphorus, and fluids may need to be adjusted. Personal recommendations depend heavily on lab values, symptoms, and severity of kidney damage. If you have CKD, consider meeting with a renal dietitian to design an eating plan for your needs.


  1. Vinicius Marques Cardoso

    Olá. Sou Vinicius Marques Cardoso. Sou médico, brasileiro, 27 anos e tenho histórico familiar de PKD. Meu pai foi à diálise aos 43 anos de idade e veio a falecer, infelizmente, por conta do covid-19. Eu, recentemente descobri que tenho PKD, porém em um estágio bastante inicial. Gostaria de saber se a medicação desenvolvida por vocês pode ser um aliado para mim no combate à progressão da PKD. Eu ficaria muito feliz em obter uma resposta de vocês e como profissional de saúde, tenho bastante interesse científico também.

    • Alexa Anderson

      Hello Dr. Cardoso,

      KetoCitra has helped many individuals with the dietary management of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) along with dietary changes. KetoCitra is the first non-prescription medical food that is specifically designed for the daily dietary management of people with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).

      Some of the links on the website regarding the science behind KetoCitra might be of great interest to you.

      The blog section also has a lot of scientific information –

      Also of interest would be the Facebook lab page of Dr. Weimbs

      Please let us know if you have any other questions.

  2. Lena Carlsson

    Will KetoCitra also help with non PKD cysts? Is there any negative aspect to taking this supplement to aid in controlling the growth of regular kidney cysts?

    Is KetoCitra and the Kidney Keto Diet safe for RCC?


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