Phosphorous is a mineral found in food and our bones. Phosphorous has many functions in the body, including helping to build strong and healthy bones.
A low-phosphorous diet may be necessary if you have kidney disease. The kidneys help to filter excess phosphorous out of the blood. If the kidneys are not functioning properly, phosphorous levels can build up in your blood. Your body’s response is to lower these levels by drawing calcium from your bones. In turn, your bones are weakened. This puts you at greater risk for
fractures and osteoporosis long term.
High levels of phosphorous in the blood may lead to cardiovascular complications.
Phosphorous is found in protein-rich foods. Examples include dairy products, meat, legumes, nuts, and seeds, as well as whole grains, chocolate, and cola.
|Food Category||Foods Recommended||Foods to Avoid|
|Grains|| Refined grainsBreads, rolls, muffins, and crackers made from white (or refined) flourPastaWhite riceCouscousRefined cereal (rice cereal, corn cereal)Cream of wheatGrits|| Breads, rolls, and crackers made with whole grains (like whole wheat, oats, rye)Breads, rolls, and crackers containing seedsWhole grain pastaBrown rice, wild riceWhole wheat couscousWhole grain cereal, bran cerealOatmealBiscuits, quick breads, and pancakes or waffles made with baking powder|
Dried, split, and black-eyed peas
|Milk|| ButterCream cheeseRice milkSour cream|
MilkYogurtHard cheeses (including Swiss, Cheddar, Monterey Jack) and ricottaCottage cheeseIce cream, frozen yogurtCream-based soups
|Meats and Beans|| All natural meats and poultryFresh or frozen beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, and shellfishEggs and egg substitutesLow-sodium peanut butterDried peas and beansUnsalted nuts|| Dried beans and peas (including baked beans, chick peas, black beans, lima beans, northern beans, split peas, and soy beans)Seeds and nutsCarpCrayfishBeef liverChicken liverFish roeOrgan meatsOystersSardinesProcessed meats, such as bologna, ham, and hot dogs|
|Fats and Oils|
Peanut butter, nut butters
|Snacks, Sweets, and Condiments|| Fruit-flavored hard candyFruit-flavored jelly beansSherbet|| ChocolatePuddingCustardCaramel|
| ColasChocolate milkHot cocoaDrinks made with milkCanned iced teaAle and beer|
|Other||Non-dairy creamer|| Baking powderBrewer’s yeast|
Use nondairy creamers in place of milk in your coffee, tea, sauces, and cereal.In addition to choosing foods low in phosphorous, you may need to take medication called a phosphate-binder. Phosphate-binders soak up extra phosphorous so that it passes out in your stool.Read food labels to track your phosphorous intake. Look for products with 5% or less of the Daily Value (DV) for phosphorous.Be mindful. Many manufacturers may add thickeners containing phosphorus to improve product texture and taste. Work with a dietitian to develop an individualized eating plan.
Phosphorus and your CKD diet. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/phosphorus. Accessed November 22, 2016.
The renal diet—phosphorus. UNC Health Care website. Available at: https://unckidneycenter.org/files/kidney-health-library-files/renaldiet_phosphorus.pdf. Accessed November 22, 2016.
Last reviewed November 2016 by Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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