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Developed by CORU registered kidney (renal) dietitians

FAQ Category: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best kinds of food to eat for kidney health?

The answer to this question can vary depending on if you want to maintain healthy kidneys or if you have been diagnosed with kidney disease and would like diet information based on your diagnosis.

For overall general health, it is recommended to follow a well-balanced diet which includes all food groups.

The Department of Health’s Food Pyramid is a useful guide. It is important to watch your salt intake as many of us consume more than the recommended amount of salt on a daily basis.

High blood pressure is a leading cause of kidney disease and salt intake plays a role in high blood pressure. Even without adding salt to your food, you can easily get more than you need by eating foods that have a high salt content.

Try to choose fresh foods instead of processed and canned food. Start reading food labels to identify how much salt is in the foods you choose. Another name for salt is sodium or sodium chloride and you may see this written on food labels.

Is carob better than chocolate on a renal diet?

Carob is similar to chocolate. They are both high in potassium and phosphate.

Unfortunately, it is not a good substitute for chocolate. Speak with your Kidney (Renal) Dietitian regarding your current blood results to find out how much chocolate, if any, can be incorporated into your diet.

What foods should be considered as fluid?

Your fluid restriction should include all sources of fluid

e.g. tea, squash, milk, water, dietary supplements and water taken with medications.

Be aware of foods with a high fluid content,,,

for example jelly/ custard/ ice-cream/ yogurt count as ½ fluid e.g. 200mls milk pudding = 100mls fluid. Try to choose alternative desserts.

Any tips for someone who needs to restrict fluids but has a dry mouth?

The following tips may be useful to help manage your thirst on a fluid restriction:


    • Don’t eat salty and very spicy foods as they will make you thirsty and make it difficult to limit your fluids. Ask your Kidney (Renal) Dietitian for an individualised list of salty foods to avoid and other flavourings for your food.
    • Use a small cup or glass. Measure the volume and work out how many you can drink in a day.
    • If your mouth is very dry, rinse regularly. Check with your doctor if any of your medications have thirst or dry mouth as a side effect.
    • If you have diabetes and your blood sugars are high, this will make you very thirsty. Talk to your Doctor or Dietitian to see what you can do to improve your levels.
    • Sucking on an ice cube can be refreshing and last longer than a sip of water. For a change try freezing some diluted cordial in your ice cube tray. Remember to take this from your fluid allowance. 1 ice-cube = 15mls of fluid and use No Added Sugar varieties if you have Diabetes.
    • If your mouth feels fresh , it won’t feel as dry. Brush your teeth or use a mouthwash regularly or chew gum. Lip salve (balm) can also be used for dry lips.
    • Measure your daily milk allowance as part of your overall fluid intake.
    • A portion of fruit within your fruit allowance can be used to refresh your mouth.
    • Extra strong mints can help manage thirst.
    • There are pharmaceutical gels and sprays available from your local chemist which can help manage your dry mouth. Your Kidney (Renal) Dietitian or Doctor can advise you regarding specific products.


What is a Kidney (Renal) Dietitian?

A Dietitian is a health professional who is qualified to give accurate advice and information on all aspects of nutrition and diet. A Kidney (Renal) Dietitian provides specialist advice to people with chronic kidney disease and works as part of a renal multi-disciplinary team to help manage complications of kidney disease and improve quality of life.

Role of Kidney (Renal) Dietitian

Nutrition and diet play an integral role in the management of kidney disease. However, there is no one diet that is right for everyone with kidney disease. Your dietary requirements will change over time depending on how much kidney function you have.

The Kidney (Renal) Dietitian will assess when you need to make dietary changes based on your most recent blood results and nutritional status. After your initial consultation with the Kidney (Renal) Dietitian you will be given your own individualised diet which will be reviewed and changed as necessary.

How do you eat out on a renal diet?

Going for a meal out should be an enjoyable experience and one that you can continue to look forward to despite the need to maintain your renal diet. Here are some tips to help you achieve this challenge.

Plan Ahead

If you know you will be eating out, cut back on serving sizes early in the day and avoid any salty or high potassium foods. If you are on a fluid restriction you may wish to save your fluids throughout the day to allow more when you are eating out. If you are on phosphate binders remember to bring them with you and take them with your meal. Talk to your Kidney (Renal) Dietitian about eating out and which local restaurants are best for you.

Read the menu carefully

Ask questions about any menu items you are not sure of. If you’re not comfortable asking in front of your dinner companions – call ahead or check out the menu online!

Special Requests

Many restaurants will be only too happy to make substitutions (i.e. rice instead of potatoes) or serve salad dressings, sauces and gravies on the side so you can control the amount you eat. Ask if your meal can be cooked without extra or added salt.

Keep in mind that anything you eat in a restaurant will be saltier than what you have at home – remember moderation is the key.

How much potassium is removed by ‘double boiling’ a potato?

‘Double boiling’ a peeled and chopped potato removes up to 50% of the potassium in the potato.

‘Double boiling’ is the term used to describe, one method of producing low potassium potatoes.

The potatoes are peeled, chopped into small pieces and placed into a large pot of boiling water (ratio 4:1 water: potato). The water is brought to the boil, discarded & replaced with a large amount of fresh boiling water (ratio 4:1 water: potato). The potatoes are cooked in this water and the water is then drained before measuring the potato allowance.

An average peeled and boiled potato (175g) contains 490mg / 12.5mmol potassium and double boiled this will reduce to 245mg / 6.3mmol potassium.

Click here to learn more about preparing low potassium potatoes.

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