Handpicked Low-Phosphorus Foods for a Kidney Diet

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis from a physician.

Research shows that even in early kidney disease, limiting phosphorus makes a difference in kidney disease progression, mineral and bone disorders, and cardiovascular health. A low-phosphorus diet ranges from 800 to 1,200 mg daily, depending on your protein goal. People with higher protein diets may have higher phosphorus prescriptions because high-protein foods also contain phosphorus. Here’s a collection of the top low-phosphorus foods for a kidney diet.

Low-phosphorus meat and poultry choices

Fresh or frozen red meats without breading, marinades or sauce are better choices for a kidney diet. On average, fresh meat contains 65 mg of phosphorus per ounce and 7 grams of protein per ounce.

Phosphorus content for a 3-ounce portion, cooked:

Meat or Poultry

Phosphorus Content

Beef, pot roast

155 mg

Beef, sirloin steak

195 mg

Chicken breast, skinless

190 mg

Chicken thigh, skinless

150 mg

Hamburger patty, 90 percent lean

170 mg

Lamb chop

185 mg

Pork chop

200 mg

Pork roast

190 mg

Turkey breast meat, skinless

185 mg

Turkey thigh meat, skinless

170 mg

Veal chop

200 mg

Low-phosphorus fish choices 

Fish is a high-quality protein that contains omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty saltwater fish such as salmon and tuna are highest in omega-3, reducing inflammation and protecting against heart disease and cancer.

Phosphorus content for a 3-ounce portion, cooked:

Fish

Phosphorus Content

Mahi Mahi

155 mg

Rockfish

195 mg

Salmon, Atlantic, farmed

215 mg

Sea bass

210 mg

Tuna, canned

130 mg

Yellow fin tuna

210 mg

Low-phosphorus seafood choices

Seafood is an excellent source of low-fat, high-quality protein. Phosphorus content for a 3-ounce portion, cooked:

Seafood

Phosphorus Content

King crab

192 mg

Lobster

160 mg

Oysters, Eastern

120 mg

Shrimp

120 mg

Snow crab

120 mg

Low-phosphorus breads

Bread is a good source of carbohydrates and calories needed for energy production. Although whole grain bread is a healthy source of fiber, it also has more phosphorus and potassium than white flour bread.

Phosphorus content for a 1-ounce portion unless stated otherwise:

Bread

Phosphorus Content

Bagel, cinnamon raisin, blueberry, plain, onion

53-70 mg

Corn tortilla, 6-inch

75 mg

English muffin

52-76 mg

Flat bread

48 mg

Flour tortillas, made without baking powder

20-37 mg

French or Italian bread or rolls

28-29 mg

Light wheat bread

38 mg

Pita bread, white

58 mg

Sourdough bread

30 mg

White bread

25 mg

Low-phosphorus pasta and rice

Pasta, rice and other grains are excellent sources of carbohydrates, calories and B vitamins, plus zinc, copper and iron. For a kidney diet, whole grains such as brown rice, oat bran and wild rice are limited due to the higher phosphorus content.

Phosphorus content for a 1/2 cup portion, cooked:

Pasta or Rice

Phosphorus Content

Couscous

20 mg

Egg noodles

50-60 mg

Macaroni

40 mg

Pearled barley

43 mg

Plain white rice, short, medium or long grain

35 mg

Rice noodles

14-28 mg

Spaghetti

42 mg

Low-phosphorus dairy,dairy substitutes and egg whites

Milk and milk products are high in calcium and phosphorus. A half cup of milk (4 ounces) contains 111-138 mg of phosphorus. Some liquid dairy substitutes can be used in cooking to replace milk. Read ingredient lists to look for phosphate additives, such as calcium-phosphate. Eggs are a great protein source but also contain 95 mg phosphorus in a large egg. Remove the yolk and phosphorus is only 5 mg for each egg white.

Phosphorus content for a 1/2 cup portion, unless stated otherwise:

Dairy, Dairy Substitutes and Egg Whites

Phosphorus Content

Almond milk, Almond Breeze®, original

50 mg

Nondairy creamer without phosphate additives

40-53 mg

Nondairy whipped topping, 2 tablespoons

0-10 mg

Sherbet

38 mg

Sour cream, 2 tablespoons

20-40 mg

Soy milk

50-125 mg

Unenriched rice milk without calcium-phosphate

29 mg

Egg whites, pasteurized

15 mg

Low-phosphorus snacks

There are many low-phosphorus snack food choices for your kidney diet.

Snack Food (Plus Serving Size)

Phosphorus Content

Apple, 1 medium

10 mg

Applesauce, 1/2 cup

6 mg

Baby carrots, 9 pieces

25 mg

Blueberries, 1/2 cup

9 mg

Celery, 1 stalk

10 mg

Cherries, 1/2 cup

15 mg

Fig bar, 2 bars

10-25 mg

Fruit candies, hard, chews or gummy

0 mg

Fruit cocktail, 1/2 cup

17 mg

Low-sodium crackers, 1 ounce

20-35 mg

Peach, 1 medium

10 mg

Pineapple, fresh, 1/2 cup

6 mg

Radishes, 10

9 mg

Strawberries, fresh, 1/2 cup

18 mg

Unsalted popcorn, 1 cup

8 mg

Unsalted pretzels, 1 ounce

20-40 mg

Lower phosphorus cheese choices

All cheese contains phosphorus with most having 120-250 mg per ounce; some contain more than 300 mg per ounce. The suggested portion for a dialysis diet is usually one ounce of cheese, one to two times a week if phosphorus is controlled. Check with your dietitian for individual recommendations.

Low-phosphorus cheese choices:

Cheese

Phosphorus Content

Blue cheese, 1 ounce

110 mg

Cottage cheese, 1/4 cup

92 mg

Cream cheese, 2 tablespoons

20-40 mg

Feta cheese, 1 ounce

96 mg

Neufchatel cheese, 1 ounce

39 mg

Parmesan cheese, grated, 2 tablespoons

72 mg

Managing a low-phosphorus diet

To help you manage your phosphorus levels, make proper food choices. If you need extra help, sign up for the DaVita Diet Helper™, the online kidney diet management tool for people on any kidney diet.

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