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Dialysis Diet Differences: Hemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis 

By DaVita® Dietitian Christine Swafford, MS, RD, CSR, LD

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

Although many components of a dialysis or kidney diet are the same for people on hemodialysis (in-center traditionalin-center nocturnal or home) or peritoneal dialysis (PD), there are also differences. To some extent, your dialysis diet is determined by the kind of dialysis you choose. It's important to know which aspects of your diet need to be altered to ensure you stay as healthy as possible.

Different for HD and PD 


Adequate calories are required for any body to function and not become malnourished. But for PD patients, some calories come from dialysate solution, the cleansing fluid placed in the abdomen that pulls waste and extra fluid out of the blood. It contains dextrose, a form of sugar, providing calories and decreasing the need for as many calories from food. That's why PD patients may eat fewer carbohydrates than hemodialysis patients do.


High potassium levels are more common in people on hemodialysis. The recommendation for people on HD is usually 2,000 mg per day. Potassium removal is more efficient on PD because the treatment occurs daily. A typical daily goal for PD patients is 3,000 to 4,000 mg of potassium.

Fluid balance

Hemodialysis patients may feel the negative effects of fluid imbalance more than PD patients or those on short daily HHD. Although this doesn't mean PD and HHD patients can drink unlimited amounts, their fluid allowance is usually more generous. It's recommended that people on dialysis who don't make urine consume less than 4 cups (32 ounces) of fluid each day. This includes foods, such as soup, ice pops, gelatin, gravy and ice that are liquid at room temperature.

Same for HD and PD 


Protein needs are higher in people undergoing dialysis.  Whether you're on HD or PD, protein loss occurs. This loss can be made up for by eating high-quality meat, poultry, fish and eggs.


Hemodialysis and PD patients should limit their sodium intake to 2,000 mg or less daily. Sodium can lead to increased thirst, swelling, shortness of breath, high blood pressure and heart failure, and is found in pre-packaged, processed, frozen, canned, restaurant and fast foods.


Excess phosphorus is excreted by healthy kidneys. When kidneys fail, phosphorus builds up in the blood, which can cause severe bone and heart problems, tissue calcification and itching. Phosphorus is found in colas, milk, yogurt, cheese, processed meats, chocolate and nuts. The recommended amount is 800 to 1,000 mg per day for people on HD and PD.


No matter which dialysis treatment you're on, calcium intake should be no more than 2,000 mg daily.


Whether you're on hemodialysis or PD, it's recommended that you consume 20 to 25 grams of fiber per day. By consuming a diet rich in kidney-friendly fruits and vegetables along with some lower-phosphorus grain products, you should be able to meet your fiber needs.

Speak to your doctor or dietitian about what your specific diet needs are. 

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