What Can You Eat on A Low Potassium Diet?

Reviewed on 2/19/2021

What Is Kidney Disease?

Doctors have built a list of low-potassium foods for people with chronic kidney disease. Avoiding potassium in the diet can help lessen the severity of the disease and its symptoms.
Doctors have built a list of low-potassium foods for people with chronic kidney disease. Avoiding potassium in the diet can help lessen the severity of the disease and its symptoms.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition in which the kidneys are damaged and are unable to filter blood properly. 

A low potassium diet may be used to help manage symptoms of kidney disease

What Are Symptoms of Kidney Disease?

Early kidney disease usually has no symptoms. As kidney disease progresses, fluid retention and swelling (edema) usually in the legs, ankles, or feet, and sometimes in the hands or face.

Symptoms of advanced kidney disease may include:

Patients with kidney disease can also develop other health problems, such as:

What Causes Kidney Disease?

Common causes of chronic kidney disease include: 

Other causes of kidney disease include:

  • Polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder that causes cysts to form in the kidneys
  • Infection
  • Nephrotoxic drugs (drugs toxic to the kidneys)
  • Lupus (kidney disease caused by lupus is called lupus nephritis)
  • IgA glomerulonephritis
  • Autoimmune conditions, such as Anti-GBM (Goodpasture's) disease
  • Heavy metal poisoning, such as lead poisoning 
  • Rare genetic conditions, such as Alport syndrome 
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome in children
  • IgA vasculitis
  • Renal artery stenosis

A family history of kidney failure is a risk factor for developing kidney disease.


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How Is Kidney Disease Diagnosed?

People with risk factors for developing kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a family history of kidney failure should have their kidney function checked since early kidney disease often has no symptoms.

Tests used to diagnose kidney disease include:

  • Blood test: glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
  • Urine test to check for albumin, a protein that can pass into the urine when the kidneys are damaged

What Is the Treatment for Kidney Disease?

Treatment for chronic kidney disease is aimed at preventing further damage to the kidneys and may involve:

  • Controlling blood pressure
  • Keeping blood sugar in check if diabetic
  • Taking medicines as prescribed
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight/lose weight if overweight 
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Not smoking
  • Learning ways to manage stress and depression
  • Working with a dietitian to develop a meal plan
  • One aspect of a diet for kidney disease is paying attention to the amount of potassium in foods 
  • Patients with kidney disease may need to limit the amount of potassium in the diet
  • Foods low in potassium that can be eaten on a low potassium diet include:
    • Fruits
      • Apples
      • Apricots
      • Blackberries
      • Blueberries
      • Cherries
      • Cranberries
      • Grapes
      • Grapefruit
      • Oranges
      • Peaches
      • Pears
      • Pineapple
      • Plums
      • Raspberries
      • Strawberries
      • Tangerine
      • Watermelon
    • Vegetables
      • Alfalfa sprouts
      • Asparagus 
      • Beans, green or wax
      • Broccoli
      • Cabbage
      • Carrots
      • Cauliflower 
      • Celery
      • Corn 
      • Cucumber
      • Eggplant
      • Kale
      • Mushrooms
      • Onions
      • Parsley
      • Peas
      • Peppers
      • Radish
      • Rhubarb
      • Water chestnuts
      • Watercress
      • Yellow squash
      • Zucchini squash
    • Rice
    • Pasta
    • Bread (not whole grains)
    • Pies without chocolate or high potassium fruits
    • Cookies without nuts or chocolate
    • Coffee (limited to 8 ounces)
    • Tea (limited to 16 ounces)

If kidney disease worsens, treatment options may include: 

  • Dialysis
  • Hemodialysis 
  • Peritoneal dialysis
  • Organ transplantation 

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Reviewed on 2/19/2021