When you eat foods containing phosphorus, most of the phosphorus passes into your blood. Healthy kidneys remove extra phosphorus from the blood. But if your kidneys aren’t working well, you can develop high levels of phosphorus in your blood. This puts you at increased risk of heart disease, weak bones, joint pain and even death. Here’s how to build a low-phosphorus diet.
If you need to limit phosphorus by adopting a low phosphorus diet
The amount of phosphorus you need depends on your kidney function. If you have early-stage kidney disease or are on dialysis, you may need to limit your phosphorus intake. Almost all foods contain some phosphorus, which can be difficult to do.
Current guidelines recommend choosing natural foods over processed foods that have added phosphorus. Your body absorbs less phosphorus from natural foods. And natural foods offer better nutrition in general. For many years, people who needed to limit their phosphorus intake were told to limit healthy foods such as whole grains, legumes, and other plant-based foods. Recent research shows that this is not necessary.
Check food labels carefully
Manufacturers may add phosphorus when processing foods to thicken them, improve taste, prevent discoloration, or preserve them. Check food labels to see if certain ingredients contain “phos” in the term. When trying to limit phosphorus, avoid foods that contain phosphorus-containing terms among their ingredients.
Here are some examples of phosphorus added to foods:
Sodium acid pyrophosphate
What does a low phosphorus diet contain?
The best way to limit phosphorus in your diet is to limit the foods that contain the most phosphorus, including:
– Fast meals, foods sold at gas stations and other packaged and ready-to-eat foods
– Processed cheese spread in cans or jars and cheese products prepared in blocks
– Fresh or frozen meats to which flavoring or liquids have been added to keep them moist
– Cola and many flavored waters, many bottled or canned teas, energy or sports drinks,
The table below gives examples of foods low in phosphorus that you can replace with foods high in phosphorus. Although a food or drink may be low in phosphorus, you still need to watch portion sizes and limit the number of servings you eat or drink each day.
Low Phosphorus Foods to Include in a Low Phosphorus Diet
Homemade meals or snacks made from fresh ingredients or options without “phos” in the ingredients
Milk not enriched with almonds or rice
A small amount of brie, Swiss cheese, cheddar or mozzarella
Sorbet, sherbet or fruit popsicles
Lean beef, eggs, lamb, game, or poultry, seafood or other fish with no “phos” in the ingredients
Plain water and some mixed drinks (all without “phos” in the ingredients), fresh coffee (made from beans) or brewed tea (made from tea bags)
Seek professional help
For help developing a meal plan that meets your needs, consult a registered dietitian. A dietician can make sure you have enough food while following your doctor’s medical recommendations.
Your doctor may also recommend a phosphate-binding medication to help control the amount of phosphorus your body absorbs from food. These drugs help very little. You will still need to limit the amount of phosphorus in your diet.
* Presse Santé strives to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice.