The Known and Unknown About Kidney Nutrition

Since I’m going to be conducting my own research in the coming weeks, I’ve decided to do some research on the available resources out there in terms of kidney-positive nutrition. Kidney problems are widespread, with CKD affecting 1 in 10 Americans to some degree, so there are of course many sources. What concerns me aren’t so much the numerous academic and medical studies, but the popular articles, the ones that take the information and stretch its truth.

I mentioned in my previous post that the first four stages of  CKD still allow the kidneys to process blood; they just aren’t working at 100% functionality. Since certain chemicals and compounds that make up food are more difficult for the kidneys to process, doctors simply suggest limiting their intake. Other sources and organizations have created all-out, detailed diets for those suffering, like the National Kidney Foundation’s DASH diet:

Food Group Daily Servings Serving Size
Grains1 6–8 1 Slice bread
1 oz dry cereal2
½ cup cooked rice, pasta, or cereal
Vegetables 4–5 1 cup raw leafy vegetable
½ cup cut-up raw or cooked vegetable
½ cup vegetable juice
Fruits 4–5 1 medium fruit
¼ cup dried fruit
½ cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit
½ cup fruit juice
Fat–free or low–fat milk and milk products 2–3 1 oz milk or yogurt
1 ½ oz cheese
Lean meats, poultry, and fish 6 or less 1 oz cooked meats, poultry, or fish
1 egg
Nuts, seeds, and legumes 4–5 per week 1/3 cup or 1 ½ oz nuts
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp or ½ oz seeds
½ cup cooked legumes (dry beans and peas)
Fats and oils 2–3 1 tsp soft margarine
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp salad dressing
Sweets and added sugars 5 or less per week 1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp jelly or jam
½ cup sorbet, gelatin
1 cup lemonade

1. Whole grains are recommended for most grain servings as a good source of fiber and nutrients.
2. Serving sizes vary between ½ cup and 1 ¼ cups, depending on cereal type. Check the product’s Nutrition Facts label.


Not all articles have been wrong, however. Livestrong posted an article (also about kidney beans, funnily enough) that correctly use credible sources like medical journals and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The author explained that, though kidney beans are good for the average Joe, people with kidney diseases should definitely be careful. After reading through all of their sources, I can say that they succinctly brought them all together in an accurate, readable way.
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