Do I need a special diet during kidney dialysis?

Nilima Desai
Nutrition & Dietetics

Starting dialysis can be an overwhelming experience and it can be less stressful with support from family, friends, and an experienced dialysis center staff (which includes a nephrologist, nurse, dialysis technician, social worker, and a dietitian). 

When you are on dialysis, your diet will be different. You will need to monitor the amount of sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, protein, and calories you eat. The dietitian will meet with you to review your individual nutrient needs based on your medical history, food and cultural preferences, height, weight, and laboratory values. 

Generally speaking, people on dialysis are advised to increase the protein they eat, and limit the potassium, phosphorus, sodium and fluid in their diet. People with diabetes or other health conditions may have additional diet restrictions. It's important to talk with your dietitian about your individual diet needs.

Your dialysis care team will monitor your treatment with monthly lab tests to make sure you get the right amount of dialysis and that you are meeting your dietary goals.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.