When you eat foods that contain phosphorous, most of the phosphorous passes into your blood. Healthy kidneys remove excess phosphorous from the blood. But if your kidneys aren’t working well, you can develop high levels of phosphorous 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 phosphorous diet.
If you need to reduce phosphorous by following a low phosphorous diet
The amount of phosphorous you need depends on your kidney function. If you have early-stage kidney disease or are on dialysis, you may need to limit your phosphorous intake. Almost all foods contain some phosphorous, which can be tricky.
Current guidelines recommend choosing natural foods rather than processed foods that have added phosphorous. Your body absorbs less phosphorous from natural foods. And natural foods provide better nutrition in general. For many years, people who need to limit their phosphorous intake have been told to limit healthy foods such as whole grains, legumes, and other plant foods. Recent research shows that this is not necessary.
Check food labels carefully
Manufacturers may add phosphorous when processing foods to thicken them, improve taste, prevent discoloration, or preserve them. Check food labels to see if some ingredients contain “phos” in the term. When trying to limit phosphorous, avoid foods that have phosphorous among their ingredients.
Here are some examples of phosphorous added to foods:
Sodium acid pyrophosphate
What does a low phosphorous diet contain?
The best way to limit phosphorous in your diet is to limit foods that contain the most phosphorous, including:
Fast food, gas station foods, and other packaged and ready-to-eat foods
Processed cheese is spread in cans or jars and cheese products prepared in molds
Fresh or frozen meat with flavorings or liquids added to keep it moist
Cola and many flavored waters, many bottled or canned teas, energy or sports drinks,
The table below provides examples of foods low in phosphorous that you can replace with foods high in phosphorous. Although food or drink may be low in phosphorous, you still need to monitor portion sizes and reduce the number of meals you eat or drink each day.
Low phosphorous foods to include in a low phosphorous diet
Homemade meals or snacks made with fresh ingredients or options without “foss” in the ingredients
Milk that is not enriched with almonds or rice
Small amount of Brie, Swiss cheese, cheddar or mozzarella
Sherbet, sherbet or fruit lollipops
Beef, eggs, lamb, game, poultry, seafood, or other lean fish that do not contain “foss” in the ingredients.
Plain water and some mixed drinks (all without the “foss” in the ingredients), fresh coffee (made from the 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 dietitian can make sure you’re getting enough food while following your doctor’s medical recommendations.
Your doctor may also recommend phosphate-bound medications to help control how much phosphorous your body absorbs from food. These drugs help very little. You will still need to limit the amount of phosphorous in your diet.
* Presse Santé strives to impart medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In no way can the information provided replace medical advice.
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