Sweeten Your Day the Kidney-Friendly Way

Stephanie Legin, RD, LDN
Renal Dietitian |

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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 of 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



  • Sourballs
  • Rootbeer barrels
  • Sweet Tarts
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Lifesavers
  • Lemonheads
  • Candy canes
  • Werther’s originals
  • Cinnamon discs
  • Lollipops
  • Smarties
  • Runts
  • Mike and Ike
  • Gumdrops/Spice Drops
  • Cherry Nibs
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Chewing Gum
  • Bit-o-Honey
  • Jelly Beans
  • Gummy Candies
  • Fruit Slices
  • Starburst
  • Hot Tamales
  • Peeps
  • Candy Corn
  • Marshmallows
  • Jawbreakers
  • Now and Later
  • Conversation Hearts
  • Air Heads
  • Laffy Taffy
  • Peach Rings
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Skittles
  • Cotton Candy
  • Dots
  • Jujubees
  • Sugar-free hard candy (good choice for diabetics)
  • Charleston Chews
  • Junior Mints
  • Thin Mints
  • 3 Musketeers

~Other Sweet Options~

  • Fruit Pies
  • Gelatin
  • Popsicles
  • Sorbet
  • Sherbet
  • Shortbread Cookies
  • Sugar Cookies
  • White, Yellow, or Angel Food Cake
  • Vanilla Wafers
  • Animal Crackers
  • Graham Crackers
  • Muffins (avoid bran or chocolate and any with nuts)
  • Rice Cakes
  • Rice Krispie Treats
  • Candy Apples

Treats to Avoid



  • 5th Avenue bar
  • Almond Joy
  • Baby Ruth
  • Butterfinger
  • Any chocolate bars
  • Caramels
  • Chocolate Turtles
  • Chocolate coated nuts, raisins, pretzels, caramel
  • Heath bar
  • Hershey chocolate bars
  • Hershey Kisses
  • Jordan almonds
  • Kit Kat
  • M&M’s (any variety)
  • Milky Way
  • Mounds
  • Oh Henry! Bar
  • Peanut brittle, Peanut chews
  • Pralines
  • Raisinetes
  • Reese’s peanut butter
  • Rolo caramels
  • Snickers
  • Snowcaps
  • Twix
  • Fudge


~Other Unfriendly Choices~

  • Yogurt covered nuts, raisins, or pretzels
  • Hot cocoa
  • Chocolate based cakes
  • Brownies
  • Cream pies
  • Puddings
  • Ice cream
  • Frozen yogurt
  • 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.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. KidneyChef urges you to seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. KidneyChef advises you to never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Website.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or local emergency service immediately. KidneyChef does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the website. KidneyChef does not guarantee the accuracy of information on the Website and reliance on any information provided by KidneyChef is solely at your own risk.









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