Protein & sodium restriction

Patients with various degrees of kidney disease and hypertension (high blood pressure) may need to restrict both their protein and sodium intakes. Persons with gout may also find it useful to restrict the amount of protein they eat.

Consult a dietician
All patients with kidney problems, particularly severe, chronic renal failure should be under the supervision of a clinical dietician who will monitor their day-to day progress. If you suffer from serious kidney disease, and are not already under the care of a hospital dietician, then please make a point of consulting a clinical dietician - it could just save your kidneys and your life! Phone (012) 998-5650 (mornings) to obtain the name and address of your nearest clinical dietician.

Patients with hypertension may be advised to reduce their protein and sodium intakes.

High-protein foods
The following foods have a high protein content and should only be eaten in quantities as prescribed by your dietician if you have kidney problems:

  • Meat - beef, pork, lamb, organ meats, chicken and poultry
  • Fish - all types, including shell fish
  • Cheese - all types
  • Milk and diary products including yoghurt
  • Legumes - dry beans, peas, lentils, soya and products made with textured vegetable protein

High-sodium foods
The following foods have a high sodium content and should only be eaten in quantities as prescribed by your dietician if you have kidney problems:

  • Meat - ham, cold cuts, bacon, pickled or smoked meat, biltong, sausages
  • Fish - salted, dried or smoked fish, canned fish with added salt
  • Cheese - most types
  • All products made with baking powder - cakes, biscuits, rusks, cookies
  • All canned products - check the labels for added salt or monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • All frozen products - check labels for added salt or brine
  • All soup or gravy powders
  • All meat extracts
  • All pickles and condiments such as garlic salt, Aromat

Tips on avoiding sodium

  • Try to buy fresh fruit and vegetables and cook them without salt.
  • Prepare all dishes without adding table salt or condiments that contain salt.
  • Use lemon juice and fresh herbs to add flavour to dishes.
  • Do not add salt at table.
  • Read every label to check if products contain salt, sodium chloride, brine, MSG, sodium bicarbonate or any other sodium salt.
  • Use salt-free butter, which is available at most supermarkets.
  • Check over-the-counter medications to ensure that you are not ingesting extra sodium from these products.
  • Check with your doctor if any of your prescribed medications contain sodium.

Bread substitutes with low sodium content

  • Rice cakes which contain less than 1mg of sodium per cake:
  • Vital Rice Cakes (0mg sodium/cake)
  • Woolworths Rice Cakes - Carob flavour (1mg sodium/cake)
  • The Chocolate Tree Rice Cakes - Carob & Lactose-free flavours (0.5mg sodium/cake)

Wheat Cakes which contain less than 1mg sodium per cake:

  • The Chocolate Tree Wheat Cakes - Lactose-free flavour (0.5g sodium/cake)

A final word of warning
I must emphasize once more that any patient with kidney problems needs to have his or her diet worked out by a clinical dietician who will take all the patient’s individual factors into consideration. Such factors may include: the type and severity of the kidney problem, other medical conditions, age, gender, activity level, type of medical treatment the patient is receiving (medications, dialysis), blood test results, and urine output.

Failure to seek the assistance of medical and dietetic experts in this field, may be fatal. – (Dr Ingrid van Heerden – registered dietician)

Top 10 foods

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