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Chronic Kidney Disease Stage 3 Diet

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Chronic Kidney Disease Stage 3 Diet
Stage 3 diet for chronic kidney disease manages vitamin and protein needs with kidney function. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Kidney disease progresses over time with a gradual lose of function in one or both kidneys. When caught early enough, lifestyle changes and medication can preserve the remaining function of your kidneys. Stage 3 chronic kidney disease is defined as having moderate kidney damage that limits some of the filtering ability of the kidneys, but doesn't necessitate dialysis. Decreasing the level of waste by making diet modifications preserves the remaining function and staves off further damage.

Protein Restrictions

Protein serves to maintain muscle mass and support your immune system. Urea is a by-product of protein breakdown by the liver. Your kidneys take the urea and produce urine for excretion of waste products. Reducing your protein intake reduces the amount of urea produced and, thus, the workload of the kidneys. However, according to DaVita, a dialysis facility for kidney failure, for stage 3, a dietitian will usually recommend eating a healthy diet with protein at the level of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, the same level recommended for all healthy people. One kilogram of body weight is equivalent to 2.2 lb.

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Phosphorus and Calcium

Phosphorus is a mineral that works with calcium to support bone health. As your kidney function worsens, phosphorus can build up in the blood causing itchy skin and your bones to lose calcium. This stage of the diet restricts the amount of phosphorus in your diet by limiting beans, legumes, beer and dark colored carbonated beverages. Phosphorus binders can be used to remove excess phosphorus from your ingested food. These binders are usually concentrated calcium supplements because phosphorus and calcium compete for absorption in your intestines. Providing high amounts of calcium with your meals decreases the amount of phosphorus your body absorbs, thereby preventing kidney associated bone disease.


Electrolytes help your muscles contract and maintain fluid balance inside your cells, but in excessive amounts can lead to heart problems. Potassium is a mineral that acts as an electrolyte along with sodium to help maintain proper muscle contractions and heart rhythm. Your potassium and sodium intake may be adjusted based on your lab values. The stage 3 diet for potassium and sodium is an individual decision made between you and your health care provider. Sodium may cause you to retain fluid and put an extra strain on your kidneys. Your health care provider may recommend restricting your salt usage or sodium intake by limiting your intake of processed foods to lower your overall consumption of sodium.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K may have to be taken in water-soluble form, according to DaVita. Switching to water-soluble forms prevents buildup of these fat-soluble vitamins. Increasing the availability of vitamin D in water-soluble form is helpful as your kidneys may not be able to convert UV light into the active form of vitamin D.

Fluid Restrictions

Fluid isn't restricted on the stage 3 diet for chronic kidney disease. Your kidneys are still filtering your blood with some limitations. Stage 3 chronic kidney disease doesn't warrant a change in how much fluid and water you drink per day. If the filtration rate of your kidneys decreases, your physician may restrict how much fluid you can have per day to delay dialysis, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

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author image Cydney Walker
Cydney Walker is a registered dietitian and personal trainer who began writing about nutrition and exercise during her dietetic internship in 2000. She has been featured in "Voices" and by the National Medical Association for her HIV research. She earned her master's degree in human sciences from Texas A&M University in Kingsville.
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