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Phosphorus in CKD

Phosphorus, in conjunction with calcium and vitamin D, is important for maintaining bone health. When managing CKD, it is important to reduce phosphorus intake to maintain balance of these nutrients. In the case of advanced CKD, it is important to take vitamin D supplements and drugs that help reduce a build-up phosphorus. These drugs are called phosphorus binders. Your physician will prescribe these as needed.

Useful tips

  • Variety: The diet must be diverse
  • Frequency: Consume products rich in phosphorus no more than 1-2 times a week
  • Meal preparation: Prepare food at home with fresh/frozen products
  • Read labels: Choose foods that do not contain phosphorus preservatives. Avoid dark colas and other beverages that contain phosphorus additives.
  • Portion control: There are no prohibited foods, but be mindful of portion sizes.

How to reduce phosphorus in food

Meat can be cut into pieces and boiled in water for 10-20 minutes. You can drain and use this meat to make a stew or sauce, or put it back in water to make boiled meat. This preserves the protein but the phosphorus is reduced by about half.

Egg whites are high in protein but do not contain phosphorus or cholesterol. Try using 1 whole egg and 1 egg white to make an omelet.

Meatballs can also be prepared by using egg whites. Egg whites whipped to stiffness are excellent for pies or meringues.

Foods rich in phosphorus

The following foods are rich in phosphorus and should be reduced or avoided:

  • Organ meats such as veal liver, chicken liver, etc.
  • Crustaceans, oysters, fish eggs; small fish
  • Chocolate and chocolate desserts; chocolate and/or milkbased drinks
  • Seeds (e.g. pumpkin or sunflower); nuts (e.g. walnuts, almonds, pine nuts);
  • Milk and dairy products (yogurt, cheeses, ice creams, and puddings)
  • Whole grain bran, cereals and crackers, whole grain pasta, brown rice, whole grain bread, wheat germ
  • Egg yolks
  • Foods and beverages containing phosphorus additives (e.g. cheese, Soda)

Hidden phosphorus

The food industry uses many additives that contain phosphorus. Phosphates are added to foods for several reasons: to prevent lumps in doughs; to enhance the taste and texture of the foods; to improve shelf life.

It is important to read ingredients lists on food labels in order to identify phosphorus additives. Some examples of phosphorus-containing additives you may see on labels include:

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