Foods to Avoid with Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes » Hangry Woman®




Individuals with kidney disease and diabetes face a unique challenge when it comes to their diet, as certain foods can worsen both conditions.

Kidney disease can cause a buildup of waste in the blood, and diabetes affects blood sugar levels.

Thus, it is important for individuals with both conditions to carefully manage their diet to maintain optimal health.

In this article, we will discuss some of the foods that individuals with kidney disease and diabetes should avoid and provide helpful tips on how to make healthier food choices.

Graphic depicting diabetes and chronic kidney disease with a transparent kidney

Diabetes and kidney disease are closely related, as individuals with diabetes are at a much higher risk for developing kidney disease than those without the condition.

This is because high blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys over time, leading to serious complications like chronic kidney disease (CKD).

High blood sugar can cause damage to the kidneys in several ways.

The first is by increasing the permeability of the filtration barrier, which is responsible for filtering out toxic substances from the blood.

When the permeability of this barrier becomes too high, toxins can pass through and enter kidney tissue, leading to inflammation and injury. This can eventually lead to CKD.

The other way high blood sugar can damage the kidneys is by increasing oxidative stress, which occurs when there are too many free radicals in the body.

These molecules damage cells and tissues, including those of the kidneys, resulting in inflammation and injury.

In addition, people with diabetes may be more likely to develop other conditions that increase their risk of CKD, such as high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease.

As a result, it is important for individuals with both diabetes and kidney disease to manage their diet carefully in order to maintain optimal blood sugar and kidney function.

Foods to watch


High sodium intake can cause high blood pressure, which can worsen both kidney disease and diabetes.

Avoid processed and packaged foods, as they tend to have high sodium content. Cook with herbs and spices while watching your salt intake.


Potatoes are high in potassium, a mineral that can be dangerous for people with kidney disease. When you have kidney disease, your kidneys cannot remove extra potassium in the right way, and too much potassium can stay in your blood.

Processed Meats

Processed meats contain a lot of salt, which can be harmful to individuals with kidney disease and diabetes. Substitute with fresh chicken, fish or tofu.


Consuming too much sugar can lead to high blood sugar levels, which is harmful to individuals with diabetes. Avoid sugary drinks, candies, and desserts and opt for natural sweeteners like Stevia or fresh fruits.

Be sure you’re monitoring your glucose levels with either a glucometer or a continuous glucose monitor.

Dairy Products

Dairy products contain phosphorus, a mineral that can lead to kidney damage when consumed in large amounts. Substitute with plant-based milk, like almond or soy milk.

Canned Foods

Canned foods often contain high levels of sodium and preservatives that can be harmful to individuals with kidney disease and diabetes.

Opt for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables where possible.

If you must use canned options, thats OK. Drain the liquid from the can, and thoroughly rinse your veggies to remove any excess salt.

Be sure to taste your food as you cook it, it likely won’t need extra salt after tasting it.

Foods that work for both diabetes and chronic kidney disease

Whole grains

Eating whole grains such as quinoa, oats, brown rice and bulgur wheat can be beneficial for individuals with both diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Whole grains are high in fiber, which helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation. They also provide essential vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, magnesium and zinc.


Beans, lentils and other legumes contain complex carbohydrates that can help to regulate blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes.

They are also low in potassium, which helps to protect the kidneys from damage caused by CKD.

Leafy greens

Leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are high in fiber and low in potassium. They contain essential vitamins and minerals like folate, vitamin K and iron which can help to reduce inflammation.

Low-fat dairy products

Dairy products such as yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir, and skim milk provide important nutrients like calcium, protein, and Vitamin D.

However, be sure to opt for low-fat versions as full-fat dairy can contain high levels of phosphorus, which can be harmful to individuals with CKD.

By following a healthy diet plan and making smart food choices, individuals with kidney disease and diabetes can control their blood sugar levels and maintain optimal health.

Additionally, it is important to work with a healthcare professional to develop a nutrition plan that works best for your individual needs.

Tips for a healthier diet with diabetes and chronic kidney disease

  • Always read food labels to ensure you are choosing low-sodium and low-phosphorus foods.
  • Incorporate more plant-based foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are low in sodium and rich in nutrients.
  • Cook meals at home using fresh ingredients, as this allows you to control sodium and potassium levels in your food.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Work with a registered dietitian to design a personalized meal plan based on your medical condition, nutritional goals, and lifestyle.
  • Ask your healthcare provider what individual goals you should be working toward.

Further Reading

For more information on kidney disease and diabetes, check out these helpful resources:

Managing kidney disease and diabetes can be a challenge, but with careful dietary management and a proactive approach, individuals can lower their risk of complications and lead a healthy lifestyle.

More on living with diabetes


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