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Weight Loss With Chronic Renal Failure

author image Rachel Nall
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.
Weight Loss With Chronic Renal Failure
Chronic renal failure can result in weight loss. Photo Credit: Tuned_In/iStock/Getty Images

When a patient’s chronic kidney disease has progressed to where the kidneys have minimal to no function at all, chronic renal failure occurs. This means the kidneys work at one-tenth their normal function, according to MedlinePlus. Because this condition affects how your body is able to filter wastes and maintain calcium and potassium balance, your body may not be able to digest foods properly. This can result in weight loss and inability to fully absorb nutrients from food.

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Physician Evaluation

Your physician will likely take your weight at each visit. If you are losing weight rapidly, or are overweight, your physician may recommend visiting a registered dietitian in order to tailor a diet specific to your kidney condition, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Creating a meal plan that provides enough calories and avoids minerals that can affect kidney function gives you a guideline on how to eat. If you are losing weight at a rapid pace, your dietitian may recommend increasing your daily caloric intake.

Minerals to Avoid

If you experience chronic renal failure, eating enough calories each day can help to prevent weight loss that can leave you feeling weak. However, there are some foods that should be avoided in those who experience impaired kidney function, according to MedlinePlus. Avoiding these foods and eating foods that place less strain on the kidneys will help you. This includes foods that contain sodium, potassium and phosphorus, which typically are filtered by the kidneys. Your doctor also may restrict your fluid intake because the kidneys filter wastes from fluids.

Foods to Eat

Those who experience chronic renal failure are likely on dialysis, an artificial means to filter wastes from the body. If you utilize dialysis, your physician may recommend a high-protein diet where you consume between eight and 10 ounces of protein each day, according to MedlinePlus. Sources include egg whites, protein powder, fish, poultry and pork. Protein is important for weight-loss prevention because your body uses it to build and repair tissue and prevent muscle loss. Carbohydrates can provide energy if you are feeling weakened as a result of treatments or weight loss.


Not all chronic renal failure patients need to maintain their weight. Physicians may recommend certain dietary changes for overweight kidney disease patients. This is because excess weight can lead to changes in the body that place greater demands on the kidneys, according to the American Association of Kidney Patients. In these instances, your doctor may restrict the amount of carbohydrates eaten because these foods impact your blood sugar levels. If your physician recommends a weight loss plan, discuss daily calorie needs and any dietary restrictions you may have.


Chronic renal failure is one of the last stages for a person who has kidney disease. Taking steps to lose weight can, in some instances, prevent this from occurring. This is because those with diabetes and high blood pressure -- also known as hypertension -- have an increased risk of experiencing kidney disease, according to the American Association of Kidney Patients. Taking steps to lose weight can help you to prevent the onset of chronic renal disease.

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