Rethink Your Drink: Choose Water for Better Renal Health


Thirsty? Take a big gulp of truth. The average adult in the United States drinks an average of 44 gallons of soda per year. That’s a mere 67,584 calories, or equivalent to 19 pounds of fat.

But a soda habit isn’t the only place you’ll find empty calories. How about coffee drinks loaded with cream and sugar, artificially sweetened fruit juice, and energy drinks? More empty calories, more ingredients, and more risk for chronic disease.

So what should you drink when you’re living with renal disease, or simply want to live longer and be healthier?

Here’s a hint. It’s usually free or inexpensive. It contains zero calories. It’s easy to transport in a refillable bottle. And drinking it doesn’t come with any risk factors. 

The answer: Drink more water.

When you’re living with renal disease, damaged kidneys won’t be able to remove as much water as healthy kidneys. If you have renal disease, it’s a good idea to talk to your health care team to find out how much water you should drink to manage your condition.

According to the Institute of Medicine, the average adult male needs 13 cups of water per day, and women need about 9 cups of water per day. That includes water you drink, along with water found in foods like fruits and vegetables. You might need to drink more during heavy exercise or hot weather. And if you have renal disease, you may not drink as much water, depending on the health of your kidneys.

Your body is 50 to 75 percent water. Drinking water helps prevent dehydration, improves brain function, muscle function, and digestion. Proper hydration can also help support your immune system, improve athletic performance, prevent headaches, and protect you from overheating or dehydration on hot days.

You might think drinking a soda or sugary drink pairs well with a meal, but you’re really just drinking empty calories. It’s a recipe for weight gain, poor bone health, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems.

When you sit down to enjoy your next Renal-Friendly meal, enjoy a glass of water with one of these best-selling meals for people with renal disease: