Nephrotic Syndrome Diet
Your doctor or dietitian can analyze your lab results to better estimate how much protein you require. At one time, it was recommended that people with nephrotic syndrome eat a high-protein diet, but this is rarely encouraged anymore. Most people only require 0.8 grams (g) of protein/kilogram (kg)/day
You should not drastically limit your sodium intake, but should aim for a total of 2000-3000 milligrams (mg)/day. In general, processed foods are the highest in sodium. You will want to limit your intake of foods that are purchased in boxes or cans. For example, Hamburger Helper® and similar type meals, regular canned soups, some canned vegetables, boxed stuffing and noodle/rice mixes, and most frozen dinners are very high in sodium. Many cheeses, condiments (such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, steak sauce, etc), processed meat products, and snack foods also contain a shocking amount of sodium. It is very important that you carefully read all food labels and consider your total diet when grocery shopping.
Fat and cholesterol intake
Avoid saturated fats and trans fats. Look for the words “partially hydrogenated fatty acids” on the food’s ingredient list to determine whether or not it contains trans fat. You should focus on eating foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, such as:
- Canola oil
- Olive oil
- Soy nuts
- Wheat germ
- Walnut oil
- Butternuts (similar to walnuts)
- Atlantic mackerel
- Atlantic herring
You should avoid the following foods:
- Fried foods
- Ice cream
- Fatty meats
- Poultry with skin
- Regular deli meats and cheeses
- 2% or whole milk
- Regular sour cream
- Coconut oil
- Palm kernel oil
- Palm oil
- Hard margarines (stick)
- High-fat snack foods
- High-fat baked goods
- Cream soups
- High-fat condiments, such as regular mayonnaise or tartar sauce
Limit cholesterol to 200-300 mg/day. Limit total fat to 20%-30% of your total calories.
You will want to increase your intake of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps the body to rid itself of cholesterol. Soluble fiber is found in:
- Citrus fruits
Number of meals/day
Many people with nephrotic syndrome find that they can not eat much at one time, because they feel full faster. If this is the case for you, you may want to try to eat six small meals/day, rather than the traditional three larger meals. You also may want to avoid drinking fluid when eating, because this can cause you to feel full more quickly.
References and recommended readings
H.P. Acthar® Gel. Nephrotic syndrome and diet. Available at: http://www.acthar.com/ns/nephrotic-syndrome-diet.php. Accessed August 10, 2009.
Merck Manuals Online Medical Library. Nephrotic syndrome. Available at: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec11/ch144/ch144c.html. Accessed August 10, 2009.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Section six: nutrition and renal disease. Available at: http://www.pcrm.org/resources/education/nutrition/nutrition6.html. Accessed August 10, 2009.
Providence Health & Services. Nephrotic syndrome: topic overview. Available at:
http://www.providence.org/healthlibrary/contentViewer.aspx?hwid=aa124982&serviceArea=generic#hwtop. Accessed August 10, 2009.
Review Date 10/09