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 Renal Diets and Renal Dietitians

Contact a Dietitian
If you are under the care of one of the Renal Consultants you do not need a doctor to refer you to a renal dietitian. You can contact them at:

Renal Dietitians
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics
Norfolk & Norwich NHS Trust
Colney Lane

Tel: (01603) 287011  Leaflets from the Renal Dietitians are linked to at the bottom of this page.

Diet is important. Many want to know what they should and should not be eating, but more often than not, before dialysis is needed, there are no special diets that help the kidney except the healthy balanced diet. What we eat remains important even though there is no standard "renal diet".  A healthy balanced diet is what will help our kidneys (and our heart). See below.

There are reasons why you might need to change your diet for health reasons. (This is for adults and if you haven't been asked to do otherwise by your health care team). These are if:

You are not having balanced diet. Have a balanced diet. Unless you have agreed on particular changes with a dietitian:-
  • Eat plenty of vegetables
  • Eat fruit regularly
  • Eat fish regularly (or a protein alternative if vegetarian/vegan)
  • Eat meat but cut down / cut out processed meat (or a protein alternative if vegetarian/vegan)
  • Eat healthy oils and fats
  • Eat the "Wholemeal/wholefood" type if its made this way  rather than the "highly processed/refined" type.
  • Have sufficient fibre in your diet
You might not have diabetes but their website gives good tips on a healthy balanced diet - And if you prefer the vegetarian/vegan  way, they have a lot of tips for this too.
☼ All you eat is healthy food but are you having the right amount ??   What ARE appropriate portion sizes??

☼ You are overweight (check your BMI) - Also see list of tips/diet sheets from the renal dietitians at bottom of page.

☼ You are underweight (check your BMI)

☼ You are dehydrated and need to drink more fluid

☼ You consume too much salt [it's hidden in bought food] (cooking/preparing/choosing fresh food can fix this problem)

☼ You consume too much sugar [it's hidden in bought food] (cooking/preparing/choosing fresh food can fix this problem)

☼ You consume too much processed or junk food

You are drinking too much booze
You are not sticking to a prescribed fluid restriction - only if you have one! - resulting in oedema [swelling with fluid/water] that can bring about heart failure. Please only reduce fluid intake when a health professional advises it - dehydration can seriously damage the kidneys

Your blood potassium is too high (can lead to serious nerve/heart problems - if high we will tell you and the dietitians will explain what to do)
Your blood phosphate is too high (can lead to serious bone and blood vessel calcification problems - if high we will tell you and the dietitians will explain what to do)

If one or more of the above relates to you and you have done nothing about it then you are not having a "healthy diet", and for health reasons (if you choose) you should change your diet so none of the above relate to you. OK, it is not easy. The dietitians are there to help you.

A little bit of something "bad" won't hurt - but are you having a little bit of something bad every day? Over the months and years a regular intake of "little bit of something bad" can lead to a big bit of something bad - like a large tummy or high blood pressure!

How do you know what is too much processed or junk food? You can count up the sugar and salt content of what you eat and ensure you stick to the recommended amounts below. (This is for adults and if you haven't been asked to do otherwise by your health care team).


Daily limits for:

Sugars: No more than about 30g of added sugar. Click link on left for information.
Salt: 6 g

Bread can be made without adding sugar & salt

Sugars and salt are found in fresh unprocessed food but only in small quantities. They are found in large quantities in processed and junk food which often contain the unhealthy fats.

(Note: IT IS NOT HELPFUL to restrict potassium, phosphate or fluid unless there is a medical need and you will be told if there is. Restricting these without medical need might do more harm than good. Not everybody with kidney failure needs to restrict them. The reason why they are sometimes restricted is not usually to help the kidneys any case, but to help the side effects of kidneys not working properly. Please by guided by your renal dietitian.)

There are links to the dietitians' kidney diet information sheets at the end of this page..

Videos to watch: (To make videos Full Screen, start video first and then click on small box bottom right of video).

Dietitian Kevin Jesty on diet and renal disease

Lawrence Keogh cooks for renal patients

Be Kind to your Kidneys Diet & Lifestyle

Wanting recipes -  meals and snacks - with suitable levels of salt, potassium and phosphate? Look at these free books online:

Food with Thought - The everyday ‘kind to kidneys’ recipe collection from the National Kidney Federation (NKF) You can buy a paper copy from the NKF.

Lawrence Keogh’s Rediscovering Food & Flavours - The Kidney Care Cookbook from KidneyResearchUK

Everyday Eating Tasty recipes and helpful hints for kidney patients by kidney patients from Guy's & St. Thomas' Hospitals London.

Food & Flavours

For more books see the recommended Book list under the 'Resources' tab at top of page.

Kidney Disease

(If some of these leaflets are 'not found' it is because they are being updated. Email for the current version which can be a guide until the updated version goes live.)

Leaflets to check and monitor your potassium and phosphate are found here to download:

For those who haven't started dialysis or who do dialysis at home

For those who do dialysis at the hospital
Checking your phosphate - form download

Checking your phosphate - form download
Checking your potassium - form download

Checking your potassium - form download

Different dietary guidelines for the different ways of doing dialysis - download here (Renal Dietitians' talk given at the information evenings)

Remember that you can view and print all Microsoft Office documents without having Microsoft Office installed on your computer. Go to the Official Microsoft Website and search for and download these "viewers" for free. (Bogus sites might charge you).