Foods Low in Phosphorus

Browse through a comprehensive list of foods low in phosphorus. This list was developed for people who have chronic kidney disease and must reduce phosphorus in their diet.

List of Foods Low in Phosphorus Foods for Kidney Diets

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for every cell in your body, it supports cell membranes and allows cell division while building and repairing tissues. Unfortunately, if you suffer from kidney (renal) dysfunction your kidneys are unable to filter and eliminate excess phosphorus from your body leading to dangerously high levels.

Low Phosphorus Kidney Diets

High phosphorus levels can cause rash and itching, vascular calcifications (mineral deposits on the walls of your arteries and veins), hyperparathyroidism, and dangerously low calcium levels. Your body responds to excess phosphorus by increasing calcium levels. If calcium is not available, your body will leach (draw) it from your bones, leading to osteoporosis.

A generally healthy person with normal kidney function can safely filter and eliminate about 2,000 milligrams of phosphorus each day. However, a person with impaired kidney function can only process about 700 – 900 milligrams daily and need to follow a phosphate restricted diet.

To understand a low phosphorus diet, you should first identify foods high in phosphorus that should be avoided. These foods include protein foods like organ meats and many fish, most dairy products, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, and peanut butter. Most commercial breakfast cereals are high in phosphorus, as are many breads, cheeses, and milk.

Note: When choosing prepared foods at the supermarket, check labels for hidden phosphorus in the forms of phosphoric acid, calcium phosphate, monopotassium phosphate, disodium phosphate, or pyrophosphate polyphosphates.

Low Phosphorus Foods

When selecting foods for your low phosphorus kidney diet, choose foods with less than 100 mg per serving. Include these low phosphorus foods:

  • Proteins – If you eat meat, choose eggs or unbreaded broiled chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef, or lamb.
  • Fruits and Vegetables – Most fruits and vegetables are low in phosphorus and steaming or boiling vegetables will remove many of the minerals that your kidneys cannot process.
  • Dairy Alternatives – Choose rice milk, almond milk, cottage cheese, and sherbet or popsicles as treats.
  • Beverages – Choose water, coffee, tea, rice milk, apple juice, cranberry juice, or grape juice.
  • Snacks – For the occasional snack, choose apples, berries, grapes, carrot sticks, or cucumber.

Top 10 Low Phosphorus Foods For Kidney Diets

  1. Eggs – Eggs, especially egg whites, are an excellent source of protein and amino acids without the high phosphorus levels of most protein foods. Limit the number of egg yolks.
  2. Berries – Berries like blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries are sweet and satisfying, low in phosphorus, and provide beneficial antioxidants.
  3. White Potatoes – Boiled and mashed potatoes are filling and satisfying comfort foods and butter is also low in phosphorus. If you prefer a baked potato, you can also enjoy one with butter and sour cream as both are low phosphorus.
  4. Olive Oil – Low in phosphorus while a rich source of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Use olive oil to make your own homemade low sodium, low phosphorus dressings.
  5. White Bread – This is probably the only diet that includes white bread, as processed (white) flour is much lower in phosphorus than whole grains.
  6. White Pasta – Again, white flour is lower in phosphorus than whole wheat. Serve your pasta in butter, olive oil, or fresh marinara sauce. If you select a bottled or canned sauce, be sure to check the label for phosphorus less than 100 mg per serving.
  7. White Rice – Another good filling and low phosphorus side dish.
  8. Steamed Vegetables – Fill your plate with boiled and drained or steamed vegetables including carrots, asparagus, cauliflower, or broccoli.
  9. Corn Flakes – If you must have cereal for breakfast, low sodium corn flakes are your best low phosphorus option. Rice or almond milk are better low phosphorus options.
  10. Popcorn – If you need a snack, treat or reward, choose homemade popcorn made the “old fashioned” popped with vegetable oil and buttered (but no salt). Do not use microwave popcorn as it is not a healthy or low phosphorus option.
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