Kidney disease or failure involves a gradual loss of kidney function. The kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then removed in urine. Advanced kidney disease can cause dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes to build up in your body.

The early stages of chronic kidney disease may have few signs or symptoms and you might not realize you have the disease until the condition is advanced. There is no cure for treating chronic kidney disease but there are treatment options to slow the progression.  However, the condition can worsen to end-stage-kidney failure, which can fatal without dialysis (artificial filtering of the blood) or a kidney transplant.

Kidney disease is worsened if you have diabetes or high blood pressure

Other Functions of the Kidney
  • Maintenance of PH balance.
  • Water and electrolyte balance.
  • It makes a special hormone that acts on the bone marrow to produce red blood cells.
  • Activates vitamin D that aids in the absorption of calcium.
  • Regulates calcium and phosphorus in the blood and bone tissues.
  • Helps to regulate blood pressure.
Acute kidney disease

This is a rapid onset of kidney damage or injury, which leads to a buildup of waste products in the blood and the impairment of other kidney functions.  Acute kidney disease can be due to infection, dehydration or toxic drugs, especially following surgery or other injury.

Acute kidney disease may be reversed if diagnosed early.  However chronic kidney disease, is a slow progression of kidney disease and is not reversible. However, diet modification is beneficial to the remaining degree of kidney function.

The Five Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Stage 1 & 2: The Kidney is working removing waste from the body and other functions are still intact. The goal is to manage blood pressure and sugar, keeping them without normal range, which may slow the progression of kidney damage.

The diet should include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods such as cereals, whole wheat, bran or multigrain bread & biscuits, brown rice and whole wheat pasta are ways to achieve a healthy diet.  Limit or eliminate refined foods such as white bread, white rice or regular pasta and choose low fat dairy products including milk at this stage.

 Stage 3 CKD: The kidney removes most waste products from the blood.  It is of extreme importance at this stage to manage blood pressure and diabetes to again slow decline.  The diet may be further modified by reducing saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, protein, sodium and other highly processed foods.  Physical activity must be encouraged and aim for and maintain a healthy body weight.

Stage 4 CKD: Kidney damage is severe at this stage and protein intake should be further reduced to lessen protein waste in the blood.  


Protein is recommended at  0.6 g per kg body weight with half coming from high quality protein such as eggs, milk, poultry, red meat, sea food and soy products.

In addition to protein waste and toxins accumulating in the blood, calcium, phosphorus and potassium accumulate in the blood leading to uremia.  Nausea and fatigue are usually present and they can lead to a loss of appetite

Fluid output at this stage is significantly reduced and fluid retention easily results in edema, which increases blood pressure.  It is very important that people with stage 4 CKD maintain stable blood pressure and blood sugar, they are to follow their doctor’s recommendations on fluid and sodium intake.  It is important to have a nutritionist / dietitian as part of the health care team, and have regular consultations to ensure dietary needs are met.

Food Restrictions

Sodium rich food

  • Canned foods
  • Processed
  • Fast foods
  • Eliminate salt in meal preparation.

Potassium rich foods

  • Milk and milk products
  • Ground provisions (sweet and English potatoes, yams, eddo, cassava, breadfruit
  • Seeds and
  • Tomatoes and tomato products such as ketchup.
  • Phosphorus rich foods
  • Whole grain foods
  • Dark soda drinks
Acceptable Foods
  • White bread
  • White rice
  • Regular pasta
  • Berries
  • Pineapple
  • Egg whites
  • Buckwheat
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Bell peppers
  • Onions
  • Radish
  • Turnips

Stage 5 CKD: End Stage Renal Failure (ESRD): The kidney has stopped working and there is no urine output with further buildup of waste in the blood.  Dialysis or kidney transplant is needed at this stage. Patients on dialysis may experience appetite problems due to the many changes in the body, they should increase high quality protein.

Useful Tips for People on Dialysis
  • Use small glasses, such as juiceglasses at meals time
  • Limit salt in the diet.
  • Keep a supply of hard candy, like mints, lemon drops, or sour balls to lubricate the mouth and decrease thirst.
  • Take small sips not gulps of fluid throughout the day.
  • Fluid nutrition. supplements for kidney patients are high in protein, low in sodium, potassium and phosphorus.

Further information can be found at the National Kidney Foundation

Scroll to Top
Skip to content