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PD diet information

Why are some foods restricted?

Many people on PD are able to enjoy a normal diet without too many restrictions. This is because PD is a continuous form of dialysis, and waste from the food digested is continuously being removed. Dietary restrictions of certain foods are usually stricter in the period leading up to needing dialysis (pre dialysis patients). The foods that are sometimes restricted are those which are high in potassium, or phosphate. It is important to discuss your blood results with the doctor or dietician, before restricting your intake of potassium, phosphate, or calcium. If your blood levels are too low this can be harmful too.

The normal level of potassium in the blood is 3.5-5.0 mmols/l. A very high or low level of potassium can cause the heart to stop. Your Dietician will advise you if you need to increase or decrease your potassium intake. Phosphate (normal level 0.8-1.4 mmol/l) and calcium (normal level 2.2-2.6 mmol/l) levels in the blood need to be kept around normal limits to help prevent bone disease or damage to blood vessels. A combination of diet, dialysis and drugs is usually the best way to keep calcium and phosphate levels normal.

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Why do I need to eat more protein?

Protein is an essential nutrient, which enables the body to build muscles and repair itself. The main sources in the diet are meat, fish, dairy products, and pulses (such as beans and lentils). The normal level of a protein called albumin is around 35-50 g/l. People on PD lose protein along with the waste they drain out when they do an exchange. Quite often people are advised to eat extra protein, and some people are prescribed drinks or powders that contain extra protein. It is important to discuss your blood test results with the doctor or dietitian before changing your intake of protein.

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The National Kidney Federation cannot accept responsibility for information provided. The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.

NKF Controlled Document No. 250: PD diet information written: 26/01/2001 last reviewed: 20/10/2017