Sweeten Your Day the Kidney Friendly Way

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Stephanie Legin, RD, LDN

Renal Dietitian

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

~Candy~

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

~Candy~

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.

References

http://www.jrnjournal.org/article/S1051-2276(13)00160-X/fulltext

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12753675

https://www.kidney.org/news/ekidney/october12/Halloween_Fun_for_Kids

https://renalnutrition.org/files/uploads/Vol_33_No2_2014_handout.pdf

https://www.kidney.org/sites/default/files/docs/diningout.pdf

Snacks for a Kidney Diet

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