Dialysis – What To Eat & What To Avoid?

Dialysis – What To Eat & What To Avoid?


By Dr. Ramesh Rao, Nephrology

A dialysis diet is a special diet that is customized for patients who are or will be starting dialysis within a short period of time. Such a diet is prepared to reduce the waste and fluid levels that keep on accumulating between the dialysis sessions so that the patient remains healthy for the process to be carried out seamlessly.

What can you eat?
Eat foods which are rich in high-quality proteins (poultry, fish, lean meat and egg whites).

What can’t you eat?
Eat less of foods which are rich in sodium and phosphorus.

Foods high in Sodium
1. Use minimum salt in preparing the dishes; this helps control BP and probable weight gain that might happen between the dialysis sessions.
2. Make use of spices, herbs and other salt-flavored enhancers.

1. Patients on dialysis need to include more of high-quality protein foods in their diet. This will help regulate blood protein levels. Eat about 10 ounces of foods rich in high-quality protein every day.
2. 1 egg, ¼ cup of ricotta cheese, ¼ cup of tuna.


  1. The potassium content of vegetables can be alarming for a patient on dialysis. Eat 3 servings of vegetables that are low in potassium every day. These include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, garlic, cucumber, eggplant, celery, radishes, etc.
  2. Avoid vegetables such as beets, potatoes (in any form- wafers or wedges), winter squash, cooked spinach, pumpkin, asparagus and avocado.


  1. Although seeds, nuts, peanut butter, lentils, dried beans and peas are rich in protein, they are generally struck off from the diet plan because of their high phosphorus and potassium content.
  2. You can have moderate amounts of grains, bread and cereals.
  3. Try and not have brown bread and other whole grains as they are loaded with phosphorus.
  4. Usually, 5-10 servings of these are considered sufficient for patients on dialysis.
  5. Also, limit intake of milk and other dairy products.
  6. ½ cup yoghurt or ½ a cup of milk is considered safe. Also, remember that all varieties of milk- skim, whole and low fat, have the same amount of phosphorus.
  7. All fruits contain some amount of potassium. However, some of them contain more potassium than the others. Limit your intake of fruit juices.
  8. Avoid or limit fruits like:
  9. Orange juice and oranges
    • Kiwis
    • Prune juice and prunes
    • Dried fruit and raisins
    • Melons
    • Bananas