What are the Foods and Drinks that People with Kidney Diseases Should Avoid?

What is Kidney Disease? Kidney Disease Symptoms, What Causes Kidney Disease? How Should Kidney Patients Be Fed?

Kidneys are important organs that filter the blood in the body and remove wastes from the body together with the urinary tract. However, they are responsible for hormone production, balancing minerals and fluid in the body. There are many risk factors for kidney diseases. The most common risk factors are high blood pressure and diabetes. In addition to these risk factors, alcoholism, hepatitis C, heart diseases and HIV can be given. {one*} 

In cases where the kidneys are damaged or not working properly, fluid and waste materials in the blood can accumulate in the body. In such cases, avoiding or reducing certain foods can prevent the accumulation of waste products in the blood and improve kidney function, preventing further damage. {2nd*} 

Special Nutrition for People with Kidney Disease 

Dietary restrictions vary according to the stage of kidney disease. For example, people in the first stage of chronic kidney disease have a different nutritional list than people in the end stage or kidney failure. For people with end-stage kidney disease, dialysis treatment may be required with a change in diet. Dialysis removes excess water from the body and helps filter waste. 

People with stage 4 or 5 kidney disease follow a special diet to prevent the accumulation of waste materials in the blood. In people with chronic kidney disease, these minerals accumulate in the blood because the kidneys cannot sufficiently remove excess sodium, phosphorus and potassium. These dietary restrictions are called renal diet. The renal diet reduces the intake of potassium, sodium and phosphorus, limiting the amount of these minerals in the body to 2300 mg. 

There is no set limit for potassium and phosphorus in the body, according to the National Kidney Foundation. However, these minerals are quite dangerous for people with kidney disease. It is very important to determine personal limits for these minerals, the amount of which is determined by laboratory results in the body. {3*} 

Damaged kidneys have trouble filtering out the waste products of the protein machinery. Therefore, especially people with 4th and 5th stage chronic kidney disease should reduce the amount of protein they take during the day unless they are on dialysis. If a person in the last stage of kidney disease is receiving dialysis treatment, the person’s protein needs increase. {4*,5*} 

Foods that should be avoided or reduced in the renal diet of people with kidney disease are: 

Soda and Carbonated Drinks 

Fizzy drinks cause high calorie, sugar and phosphorus intake. Many manufacturers add phosphorus to foods and beverages to enhance flavor and extend shelf life. The body absorbs this phosphorus more than animal or plant-based natural phosphorus. {6*} 

Phosphorus in additive form is not protein bound like natural phosphorous. It is available in salt form and can be highly absorbed through the intestinal tract. The amount of phosphorus in the additive form in soda varies depending on the type of soda. For example, the amount of phosphorus in dark soda is high. 200 ml of soda contains 50-100 mg of phosphorus. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 354 ml of cola contains 33.5 mg of phosphorus. Dark sodas should not be consumed to avoid phosphorus while following a renal diet. {7*,8*. 9*} 

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Avocados are rich in healthy fats, antioxidants and fiber that are good for the heart. For these reasons, avocado, which is considered healthy, is a fruit that should be avoided for people with kidney disease. This is due to the high potassium content it contains. An average-sized avocado contains 690 mg of potassium. People with kidney disease can lower their potassium intake by consuming a quarter of an avocado. {10*} 

If it is necessary to pay attention to potassium intake in renal diet, avocado consumption, including avocado sauces, should be reduced or stopped.  

Canned Foods 

Canned foods such as vegetables and legumes are often preferred because of their convenience and low cost. However, many canned foods contain salt, which is a preservative to extend their shelf life. The sodium found in salt is a mineral that adversely affects kidney patients. For this reason, it is recommended that people who follow a renal diet reduce or stop their consumption of canned foods. In addition, emptying and rinsing the canned food can reduce the sodium content by 30-80%.  {11*,12*} 

Brown bread 

Whole wheat bread may seem to be a healthier and more nutritious type of bread due to the fiber it contains. However, people with kidney disease should consume white bread. This is because whole wheat bread contains high amounts of phosphorus and potassium. The more bran and whole grains in the bread, the higher the potassium and phosphorus ratio it contains. For example, white bread contains 28 grams of potassium and phosphorus, while a 30-gram serving of whole wheat bread contains 57 mg of phosphorus and 69 grams of potassium.  {13*,14*} 

However, most types of bread contain high amounts of phosphorus and potassium. Reducing bread consumption by half while following a renal diet reduces the amount of phosphate and potassium taken daily.  {15*} 

Brown Rice 

Brown rice, such as whole wheat bread, contains higher levels of potassium and phosphorus than white rice. Rice pilaf obtained from a bowl of brown rice contains 150 mg of phosphorus and 154 mg of potassium, while white rice pilaf of the same weight contains 69 mg of phosphorus and 54 mg of potassium. 

Brown rice can be consumed if it is balanced with other foods to prevent excessive daily potassium and phosphorus intake. Bulgur, buckwheat and couscous can be preferred as an alternative to brown rice because they contain low phosphorus and potassium.  


Banana is a fruit rich in potassium. 1 medium banana contains approximately 422 grams of potassium. To reduce potassium intake, pineapple, which contains less potassium, can be consumed as an alternative to bananas.  

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Milk is a beverage containing various vitamins and minerals. It is also a natural source of potassium and phosphorus. 1 cup of whole milk contains 222 grams of phosphorus and 349 mg of potassium. Milk and dairy products are very beneficial for bone and muscle health. However, high milk consumption can harm bone health in people with kidney disease.  

At the same time, the amount of protein in milk is quite high. A glass of whole milk contains about 8 grams of protein. Milk and dairy products should be reduced to prevent the accumulation of protein wastes in the blood. Consuming rice or almond milk instead of full-fat cow’s milk reduces protein, phosphorus and potassium intake. 

Excess phosphorus consumption of a person with damaged kidneys causes a buildup of phosphorus in the blood. The accumulated phosphorus separates  calcium from the bones. This causes bones to become thin and weak over time, causing bone fractures. {16*} 

Orange or Orange Juice 

Orange is a fruit containinghigh levels of vitamin C and potassium. A large orange contains 333 mg of potassium, while 1 glass (240 ml) of orange juice contains 473 mg of potassium. Consuming high amounts of potassium should not be consumed excessively, as it may cause accumulation in the blood of people with kidney diseases. Fruits with lower potassium content (grapes, apples , etc.) can be preferred instead of oranges. 

Processed Meat 

Processed meats are meats that have been salted, dried, cured or canned. These meats are generally considered unhealthy because they contain preservatives. Processed meats contain high levels of salt and protein to enhance their flavor and preserve flavor.  

More than 2300 mg of daily sodium intake is inconvenient for people with kidney diseases. Therefore, the consumption of processed meats should be reduced or stopped. {17*,18*} 

Pickles, Olives and Seasonings 

Pickles, seasonings and olives are examples of smoked or pickled foods. While preparing these foods, high amounts of salt are used for curing and pickling processes.  

Olives are fermented after the curing process in order to remove the bitterness of the processed olives. This ensures that olives contain high levels of salt. Even a small serving of olives can contain high amounts of sodium. These foods, including those containing reduced sodium, pose a risk to people with kidney disease. Therefore, it is recommended to reduce the consumption of pickles, olives and seasonings. 

Kidney and Bladder Cleaning


Apricot is a fruit rich in vitamins A and C. It also contains high fiber and potassium. Potassium content is higher in dried apricots. For example, 155 grams of apricots contain 427 mg of potassium, while dried apricots with the same weight contain more than 1500 mg of potassium.  

Potato Types 

Potatoes and sweet potatoes are potassium-rich vegetables. 1 medium baked potato (156 grams) contains 610 mg of potassium, while a baked sweet potato of the same gram contains 541 mg of potassium. However, the potassium content of potatoes can be reduced to a certain extent by washing and straining. For example, if potatoes are cut into small and thin pieces and boiled for 10 minutes, the potassium content can be reduced by 50%. In addition, potatoes that have been soaked for 4 hours before cooking have a lower potassium content than those that have not been soaked. 

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Potatoes cooked twice are significantly reduced in potassium, but not completely destroyed. Therefore, reducing potato consumption is important for people with kidney diseases. 


Potassium, which is found in high amounts in tomatoes, poses a risk for people with kidney diseases. Tomatoes can be served raw, boiled or fried and are often used to make sauces. 1 cup of tomato sauce can contain about 900 mg of potassium.  

Using roasted capia pepper sauce instead of tomato sauce in meals allows people with kidney disease to take less potassium. 

Ready Meals 

Because ready meals are heavily processed, they contain high amounts of sodium and lack nutrients. Examples of ready meals are frozen pizza and microwaveable meals. To keep sodium intake below 2300 milligrams per day, it is necessary to reduce the consumption of ready meals.  {19*} 

Greens Like Chard and Spinach 

Greens such as chard and spinach contain high levels of potassium as well as various nutrients and minerals. A bunch of spinach contains 1897 mg of potassium when consumed raw, while it has smaller portions when cooked, but the amount of potassium remains the same. It is recommended to consume these vegetables raw to avoid excessive potassium consumption.  

Greens like chard and spinach also contain high levels of oxalates. In people with a sensitive body, oxalates may increase the risk of kidney stone formation. Formed kidney stones damage kidney tissue and reduce kidney functions.  {20*} 

Dried Fruits 

Raisins, prunes and dates are the most consumed dried fruits. When the fruits are dried, all the nutrients are concentrated along with the potassium. For example, 100 grams of prunes contain 732 mg of potassium, while fresh plums of the same weight contain 157 mg of potassium. However, 668 mg of potassium can be taken with 4 dates. Since potassium can be easily taken from dried fruits, people with kidney disease should avoid these foods as much as possible. 

Chips and Crackers 

Chips and crackers lack nutrients and contain high levels of salt. In addition, since it is quite easy to consume more than the recommended servings of these foods, they lead to excessive salt intake. However, if the chips consumed are made from potatoes, potassium intake is also provided along with salt. For this reason, it is recommended that people with kidney disease avoid foods with a high salt content, such as chips and crackers.  

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