• Low-Phosphorous Diet

    What Is Phosphorous?

    Phosphorous is a mineral found in food and our bones. Phosphorous has many functions in the body, including helping to build strong and healthy bones.

    Why Should I Follow a Low-Phosphorous Diet?

    A low-phosphorous diet may be necessary if you have kidney disease. The kidneys help to filter phosphorous out of the blood. If the kidneys are not functioning properly, phosphorous levels can build up in your blood. Your body’s response is to lower these levels by drawing calcium from your bones. In turn, your bones are weakened. This puts you at greater risk for fractures .

    Food Choices on a Low-Phosphorous Diet

    Phosphorous is found in protein-rich foods. Examples include dairy products, meat, legumes, nuts, and seeds, as well as whole grains, chocolate, and cola.
    Food Category Foods Recommended Foods to Avoid
    • Refined grains
    • Breads, rolls, muffins, and crackers made from white (or refined) flour
    • Pasta
    • White rice
    • Couscous
    • Refined cereal (rice cereal, corn cereal)
    • Cream of wheat
    • Grits
    • Breads, rolls, and crackers made with whole grains (eg, whole wheat, oats, rye)
    • Breads, rolls, and crackers containing seeds
    • Whole grain pasta
    • Brown rice, wild rice
    • Whole wheat couscous
    • Whole grain cereal, bran cereal
    • Oatmeal
    • Biscuits, quick breads, and pancakes made with baking powder
    • Butter
    • Cream cheese
    • Rice milk
    • Sour cream
    Most, including:
    • Milk
    • Yogurt
    • Hard cheeses (including Swiss, Cheddar, Monterey Jack)
    • Cottage cheese
    • Ice cream
    • Cream-based soups
    Meats and Beans
    • Fresh or frozen beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, and shellfish
    • Eggs and egg substitutes
    • Low-sodium peanut butter
    • Dried peas and beans
    • Unsalted nuts
    • Dried beans and peas (including baked beans, chick peas, black beans, lima beans, northern beans, split peas, and soy beans)
    • Seeds and nuts
    • Carp
    • Crayfish
    • Beef liver
    • Chicken liver
    • Fish roe
    • Organ meats
    • Oysters
    • Sardines
    Fats and Oils
    Snacks, Sweets, and Condiments
    • Fruit-flavored hard candy
    • Fruit-flavored jelly beans
    • Sherbet
    • Chocolate
    • Pudding
    • Custard
    • Caramel
    Most beverages
    • Colas
    • Chocolate milk
    • Hot cocoa
    • Drinks made with milk
    • Canned iced tea
    • Ale and beer
    Other Non-dairy creamer
    • Baking powder
    • Brewer’s yeast

    Suggestions on Eating a Low-Phosphorous Diet

    • Use nondairy creamers in place of milk in your coffee, tea, sauces, and cereal.
    • In addition to choosing foods low in phosphorous, you may need to take medicine called a phosphate-binder. Phosphate-binders soak up extra phosphorous so that it passes out in your stool.
    • Read food labels to track your phosphorous intake. Look for products with 5% or less of the Daily Value (DV) for phosphorous.
    • Work with a dietitian to develop an individualized eating plan.


    American Dietetic Association http://www.eatright.org/

    Nutrition.gov http://www.nutrition.org/


    Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca/

    The Kidney Foundation of Canada http://www.kidney.ca/


    American Dietetic Association. Nutrition Care Manual website. Available at: http://www.nutritioncaremanual.org . Accessed January 20, 2010.

    National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: http://www.kidney.org/ . Accessed January 21, 2010.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.