Calcium is important, but limit intake

SURVIVAL TIP: The renal diet is challenging. No one knows that better than you. But the key to success is moderation. Aside from alcohol and illicit drugs, we can have a taste of anything we want. You can have milk, dairy products, and puddings. If you find limiting your eating or choices to be challenging, take the challenge. You will be glad you control your food choices.

Cream Cheese with CrackersWe know that calcium makes strong bones and contributes to a healthy heart. Haven’t you heard: “Milk: It does a body good”? We all need calcium, but if you are managing your potassium and phosphorus intake like most dialysis patients, you have to enjoy calcium differently than you have in the past. We are not average consumers any longer.

Know what foods improve your health
I had to re-learn what was good for me, and you will have better labs if you adhere to your dietician’s recommendations, as well.

Too much phosphorus in the blood leaches calcium from your bones. That change leaves bones brittle and causes blood vessels to harden. So while milk provides necessary calcium, the high phosphorus content can cause damage. Dairy products also can be high in sodium, which is doubly challenging for dialysis patients who manage high blood pressure and fluid retention. Ask your dietician what amount of milk and milk products are healthy for you. Everyone is different. My dietician recommends 1/2 cup per day for me.

High in Phosphorus & Potassium
Buttermilk Milk – evaporated, skim, low fat, whole, chocolate, malted
Cheese – American, cheddar, mozzarella, Provolone, ricotta, Swiss, processed or spreadable Milkshakes
Cottage cheese – limit, but Daisy is best brand Pudding
Cream – light and half and half Soy milk
Cream soups Yogurt – refrigerated or frozen
Eggnog Foods with cheese, such as macaroni and cheese and pizza
Ice Cream

Medications can serve dual purposes
Some phosphorus blockers, such as calcium acetate, (such as brand name PhosLo) include a calcium supplement. If your phosphorus is high, the doctor might prescribe a medicine that serves more than one purpose, such as limiting phosphorus and adding calcium. Ask your doctor or read the benefits and side effects of medicines. You will learn a great deal and start to build a useful knowledge base or resource library.

Cottage CheeseFree app helps with food choices
Take a look at a new free app from the National Kidney Foundation that helps you to manage your nutritional needs. You can sign up at!. Let us know at how you successfully manage your diet.

If you want to eat dairy products, the foods below are good sources.

* Daisy Cream cheese (except fat free)
* Sherbet
* Custard
* Daisy Sour cream

Did YOU KNOW that Daisy brand dairy products are among the healthiest? This family-owned brand uses pure ingredients with no preservatives to make sour cream and cottage cheese. You will find no salt or fillers in Daisy products.

When we were kids, adults told us to drink our milk and eat our vegetables so we would grow up nice and strong. Spinach would put hair on our chests! But we are no longer the kids who want to grow up strong. We want to feel good, have energy and live as normally as possible. Our nutritional priorities have changed. We welcome the opportunity to learn and share healthy options. Most people are safe eating a renal diet, so you might help friends and family by asking them to abide by your diet.

SherbetAccept the challenge to eat well and feel better. Next week, we will talk about ways to eat healthy without breaking the bank!

If you or someone you care about is facing dialysis, share your experiences and concerns. This is a forum for learning and inspiration where we can ask questions and be honest with others in the same situation. What are your experiences and challenges with dialysis?


If you would like Beth, the Dialysis Gal, to speak to your group, reach out via e-mail or the comments.


About dialysisgal

When I joined the 450,000 Americans on dialysis, I wondered what "normal" would be. Would people stare at my access and ask what was wrong? In this blog, I hope to save other patients and their families from the difficulties I have faced. I want to share my experiences, what I learned, had to ask and was shocked to find. I am not a medical professional, but I hope we can have a conversation to help you better understand what you or someone you love with chronic kidney disease (CKD) might expect while living with dialysis.
This entry was posted in dialysis, kidney disease, kidney failure, phosphorus, potassium and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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