Let’s Talk Diet!
A proper diet is vital to maintaining overall health. It’s especially important for those facing compromised or declining kidney function and for those individuals seeking to maintain and prolong native kidney function. While many facing a kidney disease, including Alport syndrome, often feel there are many aspects of their health journey they cannot control, simple changes in daily diet can have a quantifiable impact on lab work. Alport Syndrome Foundation is proud to offer this Renal Diet & Nutrition page for those new to the diet, those seeking further tips on how to refine food choices to fit their needs, and for those who simply want a refresher on what the renal diet entails.
What’s the renal diet and why should I be proactive?
The renal diet is characterized by reductions in sodium, phosphorus and protein. As native kidney function worsens, some patients may also be required to limit potassium, calcium, and especially fluids when on hemodialysis. There is no one “renal diet” and the restrictions that you require may be different from others, even those who also have Alport syndrome. While the suggestions on this webpage are valid for those in all five stages of kidney disease, always consult with your doctor and/or dietician before making any diet changes.
Why be proactive? Following the dietary recommendations prescribed by your doctor or dietician can help to prevent or control some of the complications that come with late stage kidney disease. For example, reducing salt intake can improve high blood pressure and reducing phosphorus intake when blood levels are too high can help to prevent kidney disease-associated bone disease.
The ASF Renal Nutrition Guide, linked below this paragraph, covers the “big 4” for renal patients: sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and protein. Each is explained to help renal diet participants understand why monitoring is crucial and which foods are low, moderate, and high in these values. Additionally, as the diet for those on dialysis and post-transplant is different, links for those specific plans can be found at the bottom of this webpage.
What foods are kidney-friendly?
Oftentimes, with such a strong emphasis on what foods patients should be avoiding, “What CAN I eat?” is a valid question. Thankfully, there’s plenty of renal-friendly foods to enjoy and remain guilt-free.
Do you keep your nutrition levels in check?
Many individuals new to the renal diet have never previously monitored their phosphorous or potassium; these levels are found on routine lab work.
Esther Berenhaut, RD, reviews the basics of the renal diet, including discussion on the roles of salt, potassium, and phosphorus.
The following resources provide reliable information on the renal diet:
General Renal Diet Information:
Renal Nutrition Guide – Alport Syndrome Foundation
Nutrition Counter and Recipes – American Association of Kidney Patients
Renal Nutrition– National Kidney Foundation
Plant-Based Diets and Kidney Health – National Kidney Foundation
Renal Diet – Nephcure Kidney International
For Individuals on Dialysis:
Dietary Guidelines for Adults Starting Hemodialysis – National Kidney Foundation
For Individuals Post-Renal Transplant:
Diet and Transplantion – National Kidney Foundation