Low-protein, low-sodium, low-sugar, and low-fat diets can help you control your blood sugar levels and slow kidney damage, although dietary guidelines may vary depending on the stage of kidney disease.
Here are 18 foods to avoid with kidney disease and diabetes.
18 foods to avoid with kidney disease and diabetes
1. Processed meats
Processed meats are those that have been cured by drying, smoking, fermenting, and salting in order to extend shelf life and add taste and texture. Processed meats are extremely high in salt, however, and should be avoided because excess sodium can strain your kidneys and raise your blood pressure. Examples of processed meats include deli meats, bacon, jerky, sausage, corned beef, pepperoni, and hot dogs.
2. Red meat
Red meat has a high concentration of protein and fat. Although your body requires protein to function properly, excess intake of protein can cause microscopic damage to the kidney’s filtering cells.
3. Canned foods
Canned goods such as vegetables and soups are convenient but tend to be very high in sodium and potassium, which can harm people with diabetes and kidney disease.
4. Instant meals
Processed foods such as packaged or premade meals are typically high in sodium and refined carbs. Refined carbs break down quickly in the body and can cause blood sugar spikes.
5. Chips and other snack foods
Snack foods such as chips and crackers are also high in salt and refined carbs. They may also contain potassium or phosphorus, which should be avoided or limited in people with kidney disease and diabetes.
6. Dark-colored sodas
Dark-colored sodas are not only high in sugar and calories but are also high in phosphorus, which is often added to prolong shelf life and enhance flavor. In contrast to the naturally occurring protein-bound form, phosphorus in these types of soda is in the form of inorganic phosphates that are more easily absorbed by the body and can worsen kidney damage.
7. Fruit juices
Most fruit juices and beverages are packed with preservatives, added sugars, and even potassium, which increase blood sugar levels and cause damage to the kidneys.
8. Artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners have been linked in studies to kidney cell damage and other health issues such as disruption in the satiety signals in the brain.
9. Dried fruits
Dried fruits such as dates, raisins, and prunes are high in potassium and sugar, making them unsuitable for people with diabetes and kidney disease because they can increase blood sugar levels and worsen kidney damage.
10. High-potassium fruits
Although most fruits are good for most healthy people, they can be dangerous for people with uncontrolled diabetes and renal disease. People with these conditions should avoid fruits that are high in sugar or potassium, which include:
11. Some green, leafy vegetables
People with kidney disease and diabetes should avoid certain green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, beet greens, and chard because they are high in potassium as well as oxalates. Oxalates can cause kidney stones in susceptible individuals and can cause even more harm to your kidneys.
12. Most beans and lentils
Almost all beans and lentils are high in phosphorus and salt, which may be especially harmful if they come in cans.
13. Dairy products
Dairy products are high in protein, phosphate, and potassium, which need to be limited or avoided if you are monitoring your kidney health and trying to manage diabetes. Excessive dairy consumption can be harmful to bone health because it can lead to phosphorus accumulation in the blood, which can remove calcium from your bones. Over time, this can cause your bones to become weak and lose density.
14. Potatoes and sweet potatoes
Potatoes and sweet potatoes are high in potassium and carbohydrates, which can be problematic for people with kidney disease and diabetes.
15. Whole wheat bread
Whole wheat bread is usually recommended as a healthier alternative to white bread. However, one ounce of whole wheat bread contains 57 grams of phosphorus and 69 mg of potassium. Therefore, this type of bread should be avoided with kidney disease.
16. Pickles and olives
Pickles and olives are similar to processed meats in that they are cured with large amounts of salt. According to one study, one pickle spear contains 300 mg of sodium. Therefore, pickles and other high-sodium fermented foods should be avoided on a renal diet.
Alcohol disrupts hormones that prevent your kidneys from producing too much urine, which can cause frequent urination and dehydration. Excessive alcohol consumption can wear down your kidneys because they have to work harder to generate more urine.
18. Certain herbal supplements and vitamins
Some herbal supplements and vitamins are not advised if you have diabetes or kidney disease, since they can worsen your condition or interact with your medications. For example, you may need to avoid vitamins A, E, and K as well as herbal supplements that contain parsley root, astragalus, creatine, licorice root, and stinging nettle. Talk to your doctor about supplements and vitamins that should be avoided if you have diabetes or kidney disease.
Which diets are recommended for people with diabetes and kidney disease?
Protein is typically good for you if you have healthy kidneys. However, if your kidneys are not functioning properly, eating too much protein can cause urea to accumulate in the blood instead of being filtered out. Therefore, following a low-protein diet can reduce the strain on the kidneys.
Potassium can be dangerous if you have kidney disease. Your kidneys are responsible for flushing out excess potassium from the body. However, if you have diabetes or bad kidneys, potassium can build up in your body and further cause damage to your renal health.
When your kidneys are healthy and functioning normally, they filter excess phosphorus from the blood. However, diabetes and kidney disease can cause phosphorus to build up and draw calcium from your bones. It can also lead to calcium deposits in the lungs, eyes, heart, and blood vessels, which can increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or even death.
Existing and emerging scientific evidence suggests that low-carb diets can improve key health indicators such as triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels and possibly reverse kidney disease. A low-carb diet restricts foods such as grains, bread, pasta, and sugary foods. Before beginning a low-carb diet, however, people with diabetes and kidney diseases should consult with a dietitian or physician since carb restriction can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Diabetes and Kidney Disease: What to Eat? https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/eat-well/what-to-eat.html
Kidney-friendly eating plan: https://www.kidneyfund.org/living-kidney-disease/healthy-eating-activity/kidney-friendly-eating-plan
Diabetic Renal Diet: What is Left to Eat? https://www.thekidneydietitian.org/diabetic-renal-diet/
Intended Audience: CKD Diabetic Patients, Renal Dietitians: https://www.jrnjournal.org/article/S1051-2276(19)30262-6/fulltext
Nutritional Challenges of a Dual Diagnosis: Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes: https://diabetesjournals.org/spectrum/article/21/1/26/2177/Nutritional-Challenges-of-a-Dual-Diagnosis-Chronic
Eating guidelines for diabetes and chronic kidney disease: https://www.waterloowellingtondiabetes.ca/userContent/documents/Professional-Resources/nutrition%20guidelines%20diabetes%20and%20kidney%20disease.pdf
Top Foods Bad for Kidney Disease and Diabetes Related Articles
Diabetes: Best Diets When You Have DiabetesWhich popular eating plans are safe and effective? The right diet will help you control your blood sugar, get a handle on your weight, and feel better. Learn more from this WebMD quiz.
Can You Live With Stage I Kidney Disease?Because you can halt further kidney damage with diet modification and supportive treatment, patients can live an extra 30 years following their stage I CKD diagnosis.
Diabetes Diet PlansDiscover the best and worst meals for diabetes-savvy dining. See how to avoid carbs and control your blood sugar with healthier meal combinations that retain all the foods and flavors you love.
Type 2 Diabetes Diet PlanA type 2 diabetes diet or a type 2 diabetic diet is important for blood sugar (glucose) control in people with diabetes to prevent complications of diabetes. There are a variety of type 2 diabetes diet eating plans such as the Mediterranean diet, Paleo diet, ADA Diabetes Diet, and vegetarian diets.Learn about low and high glycemic index foods, what foods to eat, and what foods to avoid if you have type 2 diabetes.
Healthy Living and Disease PreventionThe importance of a healthy lifestyle in disease prevention is widely understood and most people know that lifestyle changes and choices can be critical to good health. Learn about healthy behaviors that constitute healthy living.
Insulin Pump for DiabetesAn insulin pump is designed to deliver insulin directly to a patient with diabetes. They are about the size of a standard beeper. The pump is attached to under the skin (usually on the abdomen). The amount of insulin required will depend on lifestyle (exercise, sleep patterns, activity level, and diet).
Is Banana Good for Kidney Stones?Bananas may be a particularly helpful remedy against kidney stones, as they are rich in potassium and magnesium and low in oxalates.
Kidney Disease QuizKidney disease is common. Take this kidney disease quiz to test your knowledge and learn the symptoms, causes and types of kidney disease and what foods to eat and avoid!
Kidney Health: Conditions That Affect Your KidneysYour kidneys help filter all the waste products your body builds up in its natural processes. Learn more from WebMD about the medical problems that can harm them.
Signs of a Kidney DiseaseMost of the signs of kidney diseases are unnoticed, ignored, or appear very late in the disease. Over 37 million American adults have kidney diseases, and most are not aware of it.
Diabetes Urine TestsUrine tests for individuals with diabetes is important to check for diabetes-related kidney disease and severe hypoglycemia. With proper monitoring of blood glucose levels, diabetic-kidney disease can be avoided.
Ways to Keep Your Kidneys HealthyYou might know that more than a drink or two a day is bad for your health. But in some cases, any alcohol at all may not be a great idea.
What Is the Best Kidney Disease Treatment?There is no cure for chronic kidney disease, but treatment can help relieve the symptoms and prevent them from worsening. Here are the five best treatments for kidney disease.
What Should You Not Eat With Kidney Stones?Here are the foods you should avoid when you have kidney stones, which include salt-rich foods, oxalate-rich foods, fatty foods, and more than 3-ounces of meat daily.
What Tests Are Done for Diabetes?Diabetes can cause serious complications if left untreated, which is why timely diagnosis is important. Learn about tests for type II, type I, and gestational diabetes.