Kidney Diet – How To Avoid The Phosphorus Trap

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If you suffer from kidney failure and are on a kidney diet you need to avoid eating too much phosphorus.

Amongst the vital roles your kidneys perform is the regulation of the level of phosphorus in your blood. We need phosphorus to maintain good teeth, healthy bones, create energy, maintain proper blood sugar levels and put an edge on our appetite. And, unless your diet consists entirely of junk food, you are unlikely to be short of phosphorus, which is contained in a wide variety of foods.

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And, as with most things, there is a balance to be struck and, normally, your kidneys would keep that balance just right. But when kidney disease strikes, maintaining a healthy level of phosphorus in your blood is a vital part of your diet.

A healthy person, with normal kidney function, can safely process and eliminate up to 2,000 milligrams daily. Contrast this with someone who is suffering from impaired kidney function and therefore needs to follow a special kidney diet, because their kidneys will only be able to handle 700 – 900 milligrams daily.

Therefore, unless you cut down on your consumption of phosphorus, there is a danger you’ll have raised levels of phosphorus (hyperphosphatemia). In turn, the elevated phosphorus leaches calcium from your bones, making bones brittle and weak which can lead to fractures. Also the presence of this leached calcium in the blood (which fully functioning kidneys would quickly eliminate) can lead to the forming of calcifications, which are hard mineral deposits formed in the soft body tissues. These can appear in the blood vessels, blocking blood flow and leading to painful joints and even heart and lung problems.

The problem is that nearly every food contains some phosphorus, so you can’t eliminate all phosphorus from your diet, even when on a kidney diet. As a rough rule of thumb, protein-rich foods, such as organ meats and some fish, such as sardines, dairy products, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, which all have a high phosphorus level, should play a non-existent – or limited – part in your kidney diet.

The irony is you will actually need to eat less healthily than would normally be the case. For example, whole grains are the healthiest of all, because they contain the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals. But sadly for your diet plan this also includes phosphorus, so you’ll need to eat refined foods – for example, white rice instead of nutritious unrefined whole grain brown rice.

Other foods you need to avoid when on a kidney diet include hard cheeses, such as Cheddar. Instead eat cottage cheese, which is better for your kidney diet as well as being far lower in saturated fat, anyway.

Also you need to stick to potatoes or winter squash for your starchy vegetables and give sweet potatoes, parsnips and pumpkin pie a miss, due to their high levels of phosphorus.

You also need to steer clear of asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, mushrooms, peas, beans and lentils as part of a healthy kidney diet.

Ironically, butter, which is high in saturated fat, is one item you can eat as part of a successful kidney diet and there is recent promising medical research that suggests that a high fat diet can help actually reverse kidney failure.

Phosphorus can come in many disguises. So, if you are following a kidney diet, you should be on your guard, when buying processed food. That’s because phosphorus derivatives are used extensively in processed foods to improve the taste, thicken or to stop food discoloring.

So take a hard look at food labels especially for any item containing “phos” to avoid them being part of your diet. For example:

Phosphoric acid.
Disodium phosphate.
Calcium phosphate.
Mono potassium phosphate.
Tricalcium phosphate.
Pyrophosphate polyphosphates.

And what about hidden potassium in your diet?

Because finding the hidden potassium can be nearly as hard as spotting phosphorus – unless you check out my article on how to avoid the potassium trap []

And don’t give up hope of avoiding kidney dialysis, because plenty of other folks have done just that and you can read their heartwarming stories here: kidney diet []

Paul Hooper-Kelly is known as The Food Physician and “The man the medical profession and ‘Big Pharma’ love to hate”, because he has helped many people quickly get rid of embarrassing and painful conditions, using natural remedies and the power certain foods have to alleviate, and even heal, many ailments. This avoids the use of harsh, expensive pharmaceuticals, which may have unpleasant side effects.

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