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Chronic Kidney Disease and Nutrition 1

Sofia Acevedo, Danielle Aycart, and Jeanette Andrade 2

Overview of Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is considered a public health issue within the United States because an estimated 37 million adults or 15% of the population have this disease (CDC 2020). CKD is a disease characterized by the gradual loss of kidney function. Early prevention techniques such as a well-balanced diet reduce the progression of this disease (National Kidney Foundation, n.d.; Rysz et al. 2017). The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of CKD and nutritional considerations.

Risk Factors for CKD

As stated by the National Kidney Foundation (2019), some of the common risk factors for CKD are:

  • Age: People over 60 years of age have a higher risk due to the natural aging process.

  • Family history: Genetics may increase an individual's risk for CKD.

  • High blood pressure: Elevated blood pressure may damage the kidney's small blood vessels, leading to loss of organ function.

  • Diabetes: Elevated blood sugar may have a detrimental effect on the kidneys' blood vessels.

Reducing Your Risk for CKD

The National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (2019) have the following recommendations to keep the kidneys healthy:

  • Stop smoking: Smoking increases blood pressure and reduces the blood flow to the kidneys.

  • Explore techniques for stress reduction and management: Stress may contribute to elevation in blood pressure and inflammation.

  • Stay active: Get in at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. Exercise training improves blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

  • Consume a nutritious diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and legumes, and consume less of high-sodium/high-fat and added-sugar foods, such as sauces, chips, and cake, to reduce blood pressure and blood sugar.

  • Alcohol intake: Limit drinking to no more than one serving of alcoholic beverage per day for females and no more than two servings of alcoholic beverages for males.

    • Beverage amounts equal to one serving:

      • 12 ounces of 5% ABV beer

      • 8 ounces of 7% ABV malt liquor

      • 5 ounces of 12% ABV wine

      • 1.5 ounces of 40% ABV (80 proof) distilled spirits or liquor (USDA 2015)

A Closer Look at Nutrients

Based on the National Kidney Foundation Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI) (2020), if you are diagnosed with CKD, there are some key nutrients you will need to monitor (see Table 1). Talk with a registered dietitian nutritionist for further information.

In summary, the risk factors for CKD include age, genetics, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Even though you cannot change the aging process or genetics, controlling your blood glucose and blood pressure through diet will help reduce your risk for CKD. If you are diagnosed with CKD, certain nutrients will need to be monitored. If you are diagnosed with earlier stages of CKD (1–3), below are some kidney-friendly recipe options for breakfast, lunch/dinner, and snacks that focus on these nutrients. Even though these recipes are specifically for those with earlier stages of CKD, be sure to discuss the appropriateness of incorporating these meals into your diet and your specific nutrient recommendations with a registered dietitian nutritionist.


Bruce, M. A., D. M. Griffith, and R. J. Thorpe. 2015. "Stress and the Kidney." Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease 22 (1): 46–53.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2020. "Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Surveillance System." Retrieved on June 12, 2020 from

ESHA Food Processor and Nutrition Analysis. 2020. ESHA v 11.1. Retrieved from

Ikizler, T. A., J. D. Burrowes, L. D. Byham-Gray, K. L. Campbell, J.-J. Carrero, W. Chan, D. Fouque, et al. 2020. "KDOQI Clinical Practice Guideline for Nutrition in CKD: 2020 Update." Am J Kid Disease 76 (3 S1): S1–S107.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 2019. "Preventing Chronic Kidney Disease." Retrieved on June 12, 2020 from

National Kidney Disease. n.d. "Prevention." Retrieved on June 14, 2020 from

Rysz, Jacek, Beata Franczyk, Aleksandra Cialkowska-Rysz, and Anna Gluba-Brzózka. 2017. "The Effect of Diet on the Survival of Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease." Nutrients 9 (5): 495.

Stump, C. S. 2011. "Physical Activity in the Prevention of Chronic Kidney Disease." Cardiorenal Medicine 1 (3): 164–173.


Table 1. 

Key Nutrients

Table 2. 


1. This document is FSHN21-1, one of a series of the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date February 2021. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.
2. Sofia Acevedo, undergraduate student; Danielle Aycart, graduate student; and Jeanette Andrade, assistant professor, MS/DI program director, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.
Peer Reviewed

Publication #FSHN21-1

Date: 2/14/2021

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Andrade, Jeanette

University of Florida

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  • Jeanette Andrade