Most people who are on dialysis need to make some changes to the way they eat. Choosing the right foods when you’re on dialysis is very important to your health and well-being, and it can sometimes be challenging. There is no standard kidney diet; eating right on dialysis will mean different things to different people. It can depend on a lot of things, including the type and amount of dialysis you’re receiving, as well as other health conditions you may have that require their own special diet, such as diabetes.
Dialysis removes waste products from your blood, and the more dialysis you receive, the more waste products are removed. This is why independent therapies like peritoneal dialysis and home hemodialysis usually have fewer dietary restrictions. If you’re doing dialysis at home, your treatments are probably happening more often and for longer than if you were getting dialysis in a hospital or clinic.
Dialysis treatment can also remove some nutrients that your body needs. This is one reason you need regular blood tests when you’re on dialysis. Your doctor will need to keep an eye on your blood levels to make sure that your treatment is not removing too little or too much of certain nutrients, waste products, and fluid.
Depending on the results of your blood tests, you may need to increase or decrease the amounts of certain foods that you eat. The nutrients you may need to adjust include protein, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. A dietitian who specializes in kidney nutrition can help you put together an eating plan that works for you. Our Kidney Community Kitchen is also a great resource where you can find information, meal plans, recipes, and nutrition tips.