The Dialysis Diet: Skip Fad Diets to Protect Your Health


You don’t have to look far to hear about a new fad diet, eating plan, or nutrition for weight loss program. Turn on the TV. Pick up a magazine. Or spend a millisecond on the Internet. They’re everywhere.

But which diet for losing weight should you follow if you’re on dialysis? The answer might surprise you.

Two popular diets that are recognized and endorsed by leading health organizations are the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), and the Mediterranean Diet. Both emphasize eating more fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, whole grains, lean means, and other whole, and plant-based foods.

And both have been proven to support weight loss and lower the risk for chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other conditions.

However, even these diets don’t address your special needs and condition when you’re receiving dialysis treatments and living with total kidney failure. In a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, researches found that dialysis patients who followed one of these two diets didn’t lower their risk for heart disease or early death.

“Although the DASH diet or the Mediterranean diet may be good for weight loss and healthy eating, it is not a good idea for a person on hemodialysis,” says Texas-based R.N. Peggy Harum. “Patients on dialysis are not on a diet to lose weight but rather to be healthy by eating enough protein, control blood pressure and blood sugar, limit fluid buildup and control electrolytes. My philosophy for patients with kidney disease who want to lose weight is eat less and do more.”

Need help figuring out what you should eat to protect your health when you’re on dialysis? Get adequate protein. And avoid or limit sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. You can learn to cook for yourself, and make it easier by choosing your favorite Dialysis-Friendly meals from our menu.