10 Foods to Avoid with Kidney Disease and Diabetes

Kidneys are bean-shaped organs containing blood vessels, which help balance minerals in the body, remove waste, and filter the blood. They help regulate blood pressure and make hormones that keep the body healthy. When the kidneys are damaged, they cannot perform this process properly. That causes waste to build up in your body and leads to other health problems. Many factors can lead to kidney diseases, but diabetes is the most common factor.

Kidney damage due to diabetes takes years to develop and can easily be prevented by controlling your blood sugar levels. The easiest way is to avoid foods that make the damage worse. The more you can keep diabetes under control, the lower your risk of kidney disease.

A study reports that people who maintain the target level of glucose levels have reduced their risk of developing microalbuminuria (a sign of kidney disease) by one-third.

Diabetes and Kidney Disease: The Connection

Diabetes and kidney diseases have a strong link. Also, diabetes mellitus is a growing epidemic and is one of the potential factors that increase the likelihood of developing kidney disease. As per a study, the condition, known as Diabetic Nephropathy, affects 20-40% of people with diabetes. 

Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot make or use insulin on its own, resulting in increased blood sugar levels. In addition, when we consume foods or drinks, the digestive process produces waste products.

The kidney’s tiny blood vessels (nephrons) are responsible for removing these waste products. However, diabetics can damage these blood vessels and impair kidney function, which allows waste to accumulate in the body, affecting optimal electrolyte levels.

Role of Diet in Diabetic Nephropathy

Research shows that proper diet and nutrition play a critical role in managing Diabetic Nephropathy. Planning a balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits and maintaining a healthy weight will help you achieve good kidney health. In addition, it reduces the amount of waste and fluid needed to be processed. 

If the kidneys don’t function normally, you need to incorporate an excellent nutritious diet with specific dietary restrictions to sustain kidney health. The diet for the early stages of kidney disease differs from those with the late stages. Consult a dietitian if you have Diabetic Nephropathy, who will help you make a personalised plan after analysing your health condition.

Healthy Renal Diet plan for Kidney Disease and Diabetes

If you have kidney disease, you may face restrictions when creating your daily diet. However, kidney-friendly foods will help boost your kidney function, maintain your blood sugar levels, and even help prevent the condition’s progression. According to a study, a proper renal diet includes not more than 2000 mg of sodium and potassium a day.

Research has proved that a renal diet should emphasise the consumption of low amounts of sodium, phosphorus, and potassium. It is also crucial to intake high-quality protein. Here are some essential minerals to monitor in your renal diet.


Sodium is a mineral and one of the three significant electrolytes which help in blood pressure regulation and proper functioning of the nervous system. When people with kidney disease consume too much sodium, they experience high blood pressure, swollen ankles, and difficulty breathing.


Potassium plays a crucial part in everybody’s functions, especially the kidney. However, when consumed in excess, it will cause the potassium to build up in the blood, causing Hyperkalemia. The condition eventually affects the cardiovascular system, including heart attack or abnormal heart rhythm.


Phosphorus is another mineral that aids in the healthy development and maintenance of bones. However, when people with CKD consume food with high phosphorus, it will deteriorate the calcium content in bones, making them weak and affecting the blood vessels, eyes, lungs, and heart.


Proteins do not directly affect the kidneys. However, when you consume protein, the waste products need to be filtered out by the nephrons. Damaged kidneys fail to remove these wastes, which eventually accumulate in the blood.

10 Foods and Beverages to Avoid with Diabetes and Kidney Disease

A study has found that almost 1 in 5 people with diabetes require treatment for Diabetic Nephropathy. Despite these worrying results, we can do many preventive measures to reduce the complications – the primary aspect is managing your diet.

Eating healthy with diabetes and kidney disease is quite a challenge, as these conditions have dietary limitations. However, we have listed the common foods and drinks to avoid when you have kidney disease and diabetes. By avoiding these foods, you can lower the risk of further complications.

1. Dark-coloured Sodas

According to a study, dark-coloured sodas have a high concentration of phosphorus to increase the flavour and shelf life of the drink that the human body can easily absorb. Also, 200 ml of these sodas have around 100 mg of phosphorus, which you cannot add to your renal diet.

2. Dairy Products

The human body can easily absorb a healthy diet due to essential minerals and vitamins, especially for bone health. However, the increased level of phosphorus and potassium in them will lead to more kidney damage and the build-up of protein waste in the blood.

A study has found that consuming too many dairy products will accumulate calcium in bones in people with renal disease, making them weak and prone to fractures. Instead of dairy products, you can opt for almond milk with low potassium, phosphorus, and protein while on a renal diet.

3. Processed Meats

Meats are processed to extend their shelf period, which would tend to expire after a certain period, by undergoing salted, dried, or canned. They are not only linked with kidney disease but also with other chronic conditions due to the preservative content. According to a study, processed meats use a vast amount of sodium and protein to improve taste and preserve flavour. So never include it in your renal diet.

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4. Avocados

Avocados are known for being superfoods but those with kidney disease need to avoid them. A study has found that avocado contains high potassium content, around 700 mg – a mineral that kidney disease patients should not take. So it is advisable to limit potassium intake and avoid avocados in all forms in your overall diet.

5. Oranges

Oranges are considered a great source of Vitamin C; nonetheless, they are also rich in potassium content. A study found that an average size orange has around 340 grams of potassium which is not suitable to include in the renal diet. However, you can opt for grapes, apples, and cranberries as a good substitute for oranges.

6. Canned Foods

Like processed meals, canned foods, including soups, vegetables, and beans, are added with salt content to preserve and increase their shelf-life. Despite the convenience and low cost, these canned foods have high amounts of sodium, which can complicate the health of your kidneys. If you need to purchase them, look for the labelled ones with no salt added.

7. Whole Wheat Bread

Eating whole wheat bread is generally a healthy option for most due to its high fibre content, but not for individuals with kidney disease. A study has reported that 1 ounce of whole wheat bread contains 57 grams of phosphorous and 69 mg of potassium. So it is because the more bread you eat, the higher your potassium and phosphorous level. 

White bread has only 28 mg of potassium and phosphorous content and is a good substitute for wheat bread. Therefore, if you are a bread lover, check out the label and get the one with lower sodium content.

8. Potatoes

Potatoes are rich in potassium. A study shows that a medium-sized potato has 610 mg of potassium which will not fit the renal diet. However, soaking or leaching these potassium-rich vegetables can eventually reduce the potassium level.

Though removing the potassium altogether is impossible, soaking potatoes in water for at least 4 hours before cooking or double-cooking will help you keep the level in check.

9. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are high-potassium foods that are usually used in various dishes and often used to prepare sauces. Both tomatoes and tomato sauce need to be avoided when you have kidney disease.

You can use red pepper sauce as a substitute for tomatoes, which tends to be lower in potassium. 

10. Pickles and Relish

Pickles and relish are similar to processed meats that you should limit in the renal diet. While preparing pickles, a large amount of salt increases the sodium content.

A study says one pickle spear has 300 mg of sodium while a sweet pickle relish has 244 mg of sodium. 

The Bottom Line

Diabetic Nephropathy is a condition caused by diabetes that affects the kidneys. You can prevent Following a healthy and smart eating plan is essential, limiting certain foods. A kidney-friendly diet is not about eliminating numerous food items from your diet; instead, it is about finding the proper nutrients – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

A study says that nutrition in the right amount is key to living a healthy life, whether you have diabetes and kidney disease or not. An overdose of nutrition with Diabetic Nephropathy is critically dangerous as undernourishment. Hence, eating a healthy and balanced diet manages the condition and makes it possible to lead an everyday life. Every person’s condition and body are unique, emphasising the importance of consulting a renal dietitian before creating your diet plan. An ideal plan must suit your specific needs and promote your health.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What should a diabetic with kidney disease eat?

A. If you have diabetes and kidney disease, you need to build a diet plan properly. It should keep your sugar level under control and maintain the function of your kidneys. Besides avoiding certain foods, you need to include some healthy fruits and vegetables along with other protein sources (lean meats, egg whites).

Q. What foods should not be eaten if you have kidney disease?

A. Dietary restrictions may differ based on the stage and cause of the kidney diseases. However, avoiding certain foods in your diet will help you manage your kidney function. For example, a study suggested avoiding foods with high sodium and phosphorus content, including dairy products, sodas, and potatoes. More nutrients will make the kidneys work harder, eventually causing the chronic kidney disease to get worse than before. 

Q. Are eggs bad for kidneys?

A. Proteins are called the building blocks of our body. Egg whites are considered a kidney-friendly source of high-quality protein since they contain all essential amino acids. According to a study, egg whites could be a better choice in the renal diet when consumed in moderation. However, egg yolks contain a rich concentration of phosphorous and choline, the precursor for the trimethylamine N-oxide which can induce harmful effects in chronic kidney diseases. You can either get fresh or pasteurised egg white; make omelettes, sandwiches, or salad to add extra protein to your healthy meal.

Q. What can kidney disease patients eat?

A. A study has recommended that patients with kidney disease consume a balanced diet. It should be rich in fruits, vegetables, wholegrain cereals, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, lean meats, poultry, eggs, and low-fat-containing dairy products. In addition, you can reduce your intake of foods high in salt, sugar and fat.

Q. What are the 10 best foods for kidney disease?

A. Depending on the stage of the kidney disease, the particular diet plan for people can vary. 

Below are the top 10 best foods to boost kidney function and prevent further kidney damage.

  • Cauliflower
  • Blueberries
  • Egg whites
  • Garlic
  • Cabbage
  • Radish
  • Turnips
  • Pineapple
  • Lettuce
  • Olive Oil

Q. Can you reverse kidney damage from diabetes?

A. Diabetic kidney disease is caused due to the uncontrolled blood sugar level, resulting in potential kidney damage. Even though it is not possible in every case to reverse the kidney damage, specific tips can help prevent the onset of the condition. For example, a recent study has found that mild kidney damage caused by diabetes is reversible with the implications of following an active lifestyle and healthy diet plan.

Q. What should you not drink for your kidneys?

A. According to a recent study, drinking carbonated sodas and certain energy drinks regularly can affect your kidney and increase the risk of chronic kidney disease. In addition, the substances found in these drinks can cause kidney stones. Consuming alcohol also affects the ability of the kidney to filter the blood. Instead, you can choose beverages with low sugar and phosphorous content and drink more water to maintain your kidney health.

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Q. Can kidneys repair themselves?

A. It is generally believed that damaged kidneys cannot repair unless the condition is diagnosed and treated at the earliest. You cannot reverse damage caused by chronic kidney disease. At the same time, you can change the acute condition with promoted treatment, regular monitoring, diet modifications, and proper medications. Contrary to long-standing beliefs in medical history, a recent study reported that kidney cells regenerate and rejuvenate themselves.

Q. Is chocolate bad for kidneys?

A. A study has found that consuming cocoa, which is present in chocolate, will increase the sugar level in the body and might indirectly affect kidney function. Nonetheless, it also has high potassium and other minerals concentration that will proactively damage the kidneys if an individual is in an advanced stage.

 Q. Is peanut butter bad for kidneys?

A. According to a study, peanuts contain oxalates, a mineral that can induce the development of kidney stones. Therefore, even though peanuts are heart-healthy and rich in protein, people with kidney disease should not consume them. It is due to their high potassium and phosphorus content.

Serving two tablespoons of Peanut butter has many healthy nutrients, including 190 calories, 7 grams of protein, 180 g of potassium, and 100 mg of Phosphorus. However, suppose it is crunchy peanut butter. In that case, it will have 240 mg of potassium and 107 mg of Phosphorus, which can further damage your kidneys.

Q. What can I eat for breakfast with kidney disease?

A. Planning for breakfast is quite a challenging task for a person with chronic kidney disease. You should restrict the number of nutrients, including potassium, sodium, phosphorus, protein, and fluid, and have high-energy meals to meet your body’s daily demands. 

When consumed in moderation, it is safe to opt for egg whites, apple, guava, pear, grapes, green peas, and pineapple for your breakfast.

Q. How can I repair my kidneys naturally?

A. If you have chronic kidney disease, you should take utmost care of what you eat or drink since they can cause potential damage to the organ. Following some natural remedies and a balanced diet can help you repair your kidneys and stay healthy. However, complete repair of your kidneys once kidney disease has started isn’t really possible.

— Update: 16-03-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article List of Food Safe For People With Diabetic Kidney Disease  from the website www.breathewellbeing.in for the keyword foods to avoid with kidney disease and diabetes.

Last updated on August 30th, 2022

Kidney ailments are common problems influencing around 10% of the population.  Read this blog to know about food to eat or avoid in kidney disease and diabetes.

Kidneys are small bean-shaped organs responsible for several important functions. Kidneys are important for

  1. filtering waste products,
  2. producing urine,
  3. balancing the body fluids,
  4. releasing hormones that control blood pressure
  5. numerous other vital functions.

Several factors are responsible for the damage of these vital organs, diabetes and hypertension being the common risk factors for renal disorder. Other factors can be genetics, gender, obesity, smoking, or age adding to this risk. Can kidney disease cause high blood sugar?

Uncontrolled blood sugar and blood pressure can damage the blood vessels present in the kidneys. This lowers down their ability to work in an optimal way.

Role of Diet in Kidney Disease and Diabetes

Dietary limitations differ on the basis of the extent of kidney damage. Individuals with recent kidney disease have many diet limitations than people with kidney failure. This is also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

In case of a recent kidney disease diagnosis, it’s best to follow the doctor’s advice. Doctor may advise certain dietary changes. Also, for individuals with an advanced form of kidney ailment. It is advisable to stick to a kidney-friendly diet. This helps in reducing the amount of waste in the blood. These renal diabetic diet foods boost the kidney function. They also prevent its additional damage. Individuals having kidney disease must limit the intake of the following nutrients:

  • Sodium: It occurs in several foods. It is the main constituent of table salt. The sodium levels in the blood rise as the damaged kidneys fail to filter out excessive sodium. Thus, restrict the sodium levels to below 2000 mg per day.
  • Potassium: This mineral plays several roles in the body. Yet, individuals with kidney ailments must restrict the intake of potassium. This is vital to avoid seriously high potassium levels in the blood. Thus, the recommended intake of potassium is below 2000 mg per day
  • Phosphorus: Mineral that is present in varied foods. Damaged kidneys fail to remove excess of this mineral. Their blood can rise in the blood causing damage to the body. Thus, limit the dietary phosphorus to below 800 to 1000 mg per day.
  • Protein: Just another nutrient that requires limitation in people with renal disease. As, damaged kidneys fail to remove waste products from protein metabolism.

Every individual with kidney disease is different; thereby it’s significant to discuss with a suitable healthcare provider about the dietary requirements. And fortunately, several delicious and healthy alternatives having a low amount of phosphorus, potassium, and sodium are available. And make a list of foods to avoid for kidney health.

Diabetes Diet

A kidney-friendly diet for diabetics is much similar to any healthy diet. The diet is similar to any other person with many:

  1. fruits
  2. leafy greens
  3. lean proteins
  4. healthy fats
  5. less sugar, salt
  6. foods containing high amounts of refined carbs
  7. crackers, cookies, or soda.

The individual carbohydrate goal depends upon:

  1. person’s age
  2. activity level
  3. concurrent drugs the person is consuming.

A proper meal plan keeps the blood glucose levels in check. Also, it prevents further damage to the kidneys.

Kidney Diet

Say No to Herbal Supplements: These are generally not safe if a person has been diagnosed with kidney disease. Damage to the kidneys is possible. And, even the condition may worsen more. Some vitamins may produce kidney problems too. Avoid them as well. Discussion with a doctor is a must before consuming any vitamins or supplements.

In a kidney-friendly diet, avoid certain foods. This helps to protect the kidneys. And add certain foods to obtain energy and nourishment. Diet depends upon whether the person is in early-stage or late-stage disease. Also, if the patient is on dialysis.

Foods to Avoid With Kidney Disease and Diabetes

Consume less salt or sodium content

This is great for people with diabetes. Also, it is very essential for people with kidney disease. With time, kidneys fail to control the sodium-water balance in the body. If there is less sodium in the diet, a reduction in blood pressure is possible. And, it may be well-controlled. And there is a reduced buildup of fluids in the body. It is very common in kidney problems.

Read more  Monitoring my Blood Sugar as a Non-Diabetic

Emphasize fresh, home-based food.

Consume little quantities of restaurant foods and packaged foods. These usually have loads of sodium. It’s best to search for low sodium (5% or less) on food labels.

Also, limit the intake of phosphorous, potassium, and protein in the diet. This depends upon the stage of kidney disease. Several foods constituting an essential part of a healthy diet may not be appropriate for his or her diet. These are some of the worst foods for kidney failure in diabetics. And, it is important to limit them.

Phosphorus is a mineral that keeps the bones and other body parts healthy and strong. The kidney fails to remove added phosphorus from the blood. An excess of phosphorous weakens the bones. And, it can cause damage to the heart, blood vessels, and eyes. High phosphorus content occurs in:

  1. dairy
  2. meat
  3. nuts
  4. seeds
  5. whole-grain bread
  6. dark sodas
  7. packaged foods.

The acceptable potassium level ensures the proper functioning of nerves and muscles. With chronic kidney problems, accumulation of too much potassium results in the blood. This causes severe cardiovascular problems. High potassium-containing foods include:

  1. tomatoes
  2. oranges
  3. whole-grain bread
  4. bananas
  5. potatoes

Is apple juice good for your kidneys? White bread, carrots, and apples are lower in potassium. The physician might recommend a potassium binder. These are drugs that aid the body in getting rid of additional amounts of potassium.

. A high protein diet can make the kidneys work harder and can even worsen the chronic kidney problem. But the too small amount is not healthy as well. Protein is present in both plant and animal foods. A good nutritionist can help a person in figuring out the correct combination and the quantity of protein for consumption.

Renal Diabetic Diet Sample Menu

Below are some of the best foods for diabetics with kidney disease:


Red grapes

Are grapes bad for kidney disease? Red grapes are sweet fruits and appetizing. And, they provide a ton of nutrition in a small package. The fruit contains high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants (flavonoids). These reduce the inflammation. In addition, red grapes are rich in a type of flavonoid, resveratrol. This compound benefits cardiac health and guard against mental decline and diabetes. They are kidney-friendly. With a half cup (75 grams) consisting of sodium: 1.5 mg, potassium: 144 mg, and phosphorus: 15 mg.


Cabbage falls under the class of cruciferous vegetables and is packed with vitamins, minerals, and several plant compounds. Also, it is a significant source of vitamins K, C, and B. Moreover, it delivers insoluble fiber (a form of fiber) that keeps the digestive system healthy by supporting regular bowel movements as well as including bulk to stool. In addition, cabbage is found to contain low amounts of minerals. One cup (around 70 grams) of shredded cabbage consists of sodium: 13 mg, potassium: 119 mg, and phosphorus: 18 mg.


Cauliflower is a wholesome veggie that is one of the good sources of nutrients, such as vitamins C, K, and folate. Also, the veggie is packed with great anti-inflammatory compounds such as indoles and is an outstanding source of fiber. One cup (about 124 grams) of cooked cauliflower is composed of sodium: 19 mg, potassium: 176 mg, and phosphorus: 40 mg.

Egg whites

Even though egg yolks are very healthful. They consist of rich quantities of phosphorus. This makes egg whites an improved option for individuals following a kidney diet. Egg whites offer a first-rate, kidney-friendly protein source. Also, an excellent option for individuals who are going through dialysis treatment. These people have greater protein requirements. Also, they require to restrict phosphorus. 2 large egg whites (about 66 grams) is composed of:

  1. sodium 110 mg
  2. potassium 108 mg
  3. phosphorus 10 mg.

Skinless chicken

A limited protein intake is necessary for some people with kidney issues. Also, providing the body with enough high-quality protein is vital for health. Skinless chicken breast contains less phosphorus, potassium, and sodium than skin-on chicken. When shopping for chicken:

  1. choose fresh chicken
  2. avoid pre-made roasted chicken.

It contains large amounts of sodium and phosphorus. Three ounces (84 grams) of skinless chicken breast contains:

  1. sodium: 63 mg
  2. potassium: 216 mg
  3. phosphorus: 192 mg.


Onions offer sodium-free essence to kidney-friendly dishes. Lessening the consumption of salt can be difficult. This makes the tangy salt options a must-buy. Onions can be sautéed with olive oil and garlic adds flavor to dishes. This would not compromise renal health. In addition, onions contain rich amounts of:

  1. vitamins B
  2. vitamin C
  3. manganese
  4. prebiotic fibres

These help in keeping the digestive system healthy by feeding valuable gut bacteria. One small onion (roughly 70 grams) consists of:

  1. sodium: 3 mg
  2. potassium: 102 mg
  3. phosphorus: 20 mg


Turnips are a vital part of a renal diabetic diet. They make an outstanding replacement for veggies rich in potassium. These include potatoes as well as winter squash. These root veggies packs a decent source of Vitamin C, B6, manganese, and fiber. Boil or roast turnips. Or mash them as healthy side dish effective for a kidney-friendly meal plan. A half-cup (about 78 grams) of cooked turnips is composed of:

  1. sodium: 12.5 mg
  2. potassium: 138 mg
  3. phosphorus: 20 mg.


Cranberries are good both for kidneys as well as urinary tracts. This little, tart fruit consists of phytonutrients. These are known as A-type proanthocyanidins. These help to prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract and bladder lining. This as a result, prevents infection. This is useful for people with renal disorders. As, they are at an enhanced risk of urinary tract infections. Cranberries contain very low amounts of potassium, phosphorus, and sodium. One cup (approximately 100 grams) of fresh cranberries is composed of:

  1. sodium: 2 mg
  2. potassium: 80 mg
  3. phosphorus: 11 mg

Olive oil

Olive oil contains rich amounts of fat and is phosphorus-free. This makes it a great option for individuals with chronic kidney problems. Normally, individuals with the advanced renal disorder face difficulty in keeping weight. The main fat present in olive oil is a monounsaturated fat referred to as oleic acid, with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, these fats remain stable at high temperatures, making this oil a healthy option for cooking. One tablespoon (about 13.5 grams) of olive oil is composed of sodium: 0.3 mg, potassium: 0.1 mg, and phosphorus: 0 mg.

These above foods are brilliant options for diabetics following a renal diet. It’s important to check with a doctor about the food choices. It ensures that the best diet is being followed for meeting up the needs. Chronic kidney problems and diabetes both modify with time, thus a diet as well.



  1. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/eat-well/what-to-eat.html
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-foods-for-kidneys
  3. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/eating-nutrition
  4. https://www.verywellhealth.com/kidney-disease-diet-tips-for-people-with-diabetes-108756


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