Stephanie Legin, RD, LDN
Who doesn’t love to indulge in some sweet treats now and again? For people with chronic kidney disease (CKD), choosing a renal friendly treat is important. There are many sweet options out there, but some can be too high in phosphorus and potassium, which are limited and/or restricted on the kidney diet.
Many popular candies contain chocolate and nuts, both of which contain phosphorus and potassium. Since people with kidney disease may have trouble removing excess phosphorus and potassium from their blood, it can be dangerous.
Too much phosphorus can cause a person with kidney disease (especially later stages) bone and heart problems, low blood calcium, and the hardening of tissues. That is why it is important to look for candies that have <160 mg phosphorus per serving.
Potassium is a mineral as well, but it controls nerve and muscle function. The heart is one very important muscle that beats normally because of potassium. Because kidney function may be reduced in people with kidney disease, potassium can build up in the body. This can cause nausea, weakness and even heart failure. Look for candies that have <150 mg potassium per serving.
Fortunately for the CKD patient, there are many candies that are better choices than others. In order to find out which treats are kidney friendly, check the nutrition label on the sweet’s package to make sure it meets the low phosphorus and low potassium guidelines. Unfortunately, phosphorus and potassium aren’t always listed on nutrition labels, making it more difficult to decipher what is kidney friendly. The lists below will help take the guesswork out of this process, and help you make renal friendly treat choices to satisfy your sweet tooth.
CKD Friendly Goodies
Mike and Ike
Now and Later
Sour Patch Kids
Sugar-free hard candy (good choice for diabetics)
~Other Sweet Options~
White, Yellow, or Angel Food Cake
Muffins (avoid bran or chocolate and any with nuts)
Rice Krispie Treats
Treats to Avoid
5th Avenue bar
Any chocolate bars
Chocolate coated nuts, raisins, pretzels, caramel
Hershey chocolate bars
M&M’s (any variety)
Oh Henry! Bar
Peanut brittle, Peanut chews
Reese’s peanut butter
- ~Other Unfriendly Choices~
Yogurt covered nuts, raisins, or pretzels
Chocolate based cakes
Chocolate based cookies
Talk to your dietitian about your favorite candy and candy bars so you can get advice on alternatives, find out about new candies, as well as get tips on how you might be able to treat yourself every once in a while to some “unfriendly” goodies.
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