The Best Diet for Diabetics with Kidney Disease

Are you a diabetic with kidney disease and worried about what to eat? This article will provide you with the necessary knowledge to make informed dietary decisions and ensure you stay healthy. You’ll learn what foods to enjoy and which to avoid in order to have the best diet for your condition.

Quick facts: Best Diet For Diabetic With Kidney Disease

  • ✅ Diets high in dietary fibre, magnesium and antioxidants can help lower blood glucose levels in people with diabetes and kidney disease (American Kidney Fund).
  • ✅ A low-sodium diet is recommended to reduce the risk of fluid retention and high blood pressure (American Association of Kidney Patients).
  • ✅ Protein intake should be monitored in those with diabetic kidney disease and should be reduced in those with advanced stages of kidney impairment (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases).
  • ✅ Eating foods high in carbohydrates such as potatoes and pasta can increase blood glucose levels in diabetics with kidney disease (Mayo Clinic).
  • ✅ Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke in diabetics with kidney disease (American Diabetes Association).
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    Diabetes and kidney disease are two separate medical conditions that can develop independently of each other. However, they often occur together, as having diabetes increases the risk of developing kidney disease. People who have both diabetes and kidney disease require a special diet to help keep their blood sugar and kidney function in balance.

    Foods with high potassium and phosphorus should be avoided as they can cause complications in those with advanced kidney disease. Most people with diabetes will benefit from a balanced whole-foods diet that focuses on plant proteins and fiber while limiting sodium, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and added sugars. Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day can also help manage blood glucose levels.

    Getting regular exercise is also important for maintaining good overall health for people with diabetes who have decreased renal function.

    Understanding Diabetes and Kidney Disease

    Diabetes and kidney disease can be a challenging combination to manage, as the treatment goals of both medical conditions often conflict. Diabetes affects blood sugar levels and can cause damage to the kidneys, while kidney disease affects the body’s ability to filter out blood glucose.

    To properly manage diabetes and kidney disease, it is important to understand both conditions and their effects on the body:

    • The effects of diabetes on the body.
    • The effects of kidney disease on the body.

    Types of Diabetes

    Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that is characterized by elevated blood glucose levels. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, resulting in an inability to regulate the amount of sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream. Meanwhile, type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, resulting in inadequate sugar control which can cause serious health complications.

    When it comes to managing diabetes with kidney disease, it is important to understand how certain dietary choices can affect both conditions. A balanced diet low in sodium and refined carbohydrates is essential for diabetics with kidney disease as these foods can further increase blood glucose levels and exacerbate existing problems. Furthermore, eating foods high in protein such as lean meats and seafood may be beneficial due to their ability to help reduce muscle wasting and aid in weight loss.

    Types of Kidney Disease

    Kidney disease is categorized by how severe the damage is—mild, moderate, or severe. The types of kidney disease are also broken down into five stages based on the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The GFR is an important measure used to determine how well the kidneys are working.

    • Stage 1 kidney disease. At this stage, the kidneys are functioning at normal levels and will only be slightly affected by any kidney damage that may have occurred.
    • Stage 2, there is a mild decrease in kidney function but the kidneys are still able to filter waste from the blood.
    • Stages 3 and 4, there is a moderate reduction in renal function with signs of more serious damage to filters within the kidneys.
    • Stage 5 kidney disease is when there has been end-stage renal failure and dialysis or a kidney transplant may be needed.

    For diabetics with any of these types of kidney disease, dietary changes can be incredibly beneficial as they reduce stress on an already weakened organ system.

    Nutrition Basics

    Taking care of your nutrition is an important part of managing your diabetes and kidney disease. Making sure that you are getting the right amount of nutrients is key to maintaining good health and controlling your blood sugar. Knowing the basics of nutrition can help you make smart food choices and create a healthy meal plan.

    Let’s explore the nutrition basics for diabetics with kidney disease:


    Macronutrients are nutrients that the body needs in large amounts, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. They provide the body with energy and help support its growth and maintenance.

    For individuals with diabetes and kidney disease (DKD), it is important to maintain proper macronutrient balance. Individuals with DKD should limit their intake of saturated fat, added sugars, and salt. Additionally, they should strive to consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins such as fish and poultry, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, nuts and seeds for healthy fats.

    By making sure you get the appropriate amount of macronutrients from various sources you ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs without overloading on calories or consuming too much cholesterol or sodium.


    Micronutrients are essential nutrients that the body needs to function properly, but in very small amounts. Examples of micronutrients include vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

    Eating a balanced diet is important for people suffering from diabetes with kidney disease as it helps ensure they get enough of these essential nutrients without their kidneys having to work too hard to process them. Some important micronutrients for diabetics with kidney disease include:

    • Magnesium and potassium, which help maintain healthy blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of heart attack;
    • Calcium and Vitamin D, which helps support bone health;
    • Folate and iron, which help keep blood healthy;
    • Zinc, selenium and copper which are essential for supporting metabolic processes in the body;
    • Vitamin B6 which helps regulate blood sugar levels;
    • Vitamin A which aids in vision health;
    • Vitamin C which is important for immune health and wound healing; and
    • Omega-3s found in fatty fish like salmon or herring which can help reduce inflammation.

    Eating a diet rich in whole grains, leafy greens, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean proteins can ensure that diabetics get all the necessary micronutrients they need to stay healthy.

    Diet Recommendations

    Having diabetes and kidney disease can require special dietary considerations, as certain foods can be harmful to both your kidneys and your blood sugar control. For this reason, it is important to follow a diet that is best suited for managing both diabetes and kidney health.

    Below are some diet recommendations that can help you do just that:

    Limit Sugar Intake

    When following a diet for diabetics with kidney disease, it is important to limit your daily sugar intake. Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain and contribute to high blood glucose that can further damage the kidneys.

    To help keep blood glucose under control, focus on foods rich in fiber, such as whole grains and legumes, which play an important role in reducing spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are also beneficial for controlling diabetes and can satisfy cravings for sweets without raising your blood glucose levels too much.

    Additionally, drink plenty of water throughout the day to ensure adequate hydration and stay away from sugary drinks like soda and energy drinks.

    By limiting daily sugar intake, you can maintain healthy blood glucose levels while keeping your kidneys healthy too.

    Increase Fiber Intake

    For individuals with diabetes and kidney disease, it is important to increase fiber intake. Fiber helps slow down the absorption of sugar and has been shown to improve blood sugar control. Fiber also helps prevent constipation, which is a common side effect of diabetes medications.

    Increasing fiber intake can be done by incorporating more high-fiber foods into the diet, such as:

    • Beans and legumes
    • Whole grains, such as oats or quinoa
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Fruits and vegetables

    Beans provide both soluble and insoluble fiber which should help digestion as well as keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the day. Additionally, whole grains are excellent sources of dietary fiber that can help regulate blood sugar levels. Nuts and seeds are also rich sources of fiber that can be easily added to smoothies or salads for an added boost of nutrients. Finally, fruits and vegetables provide both cleansing fibers as well as essential vitamins that help to support overall health.

    Avoid Processed Foods

    Processed foods are unhealthy for everyone, but especially so for those with diabetes and kidney disease. Processed foods are typically high in sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol. These types of foods can worsen symptoms of diabetes and put a strain on the kidneys. Therefore, it is highly recommended that those with diabetes and kidney disease avoid all processed foods.

    Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins such as fish, eggs and beans, whole grains like brown rice or quinoa, low-fat dairy products such as yogurt or cheese are all important dietary components for diabetics with kidney disease. These types of food contain essential vitamins and minerals needed for proper kidney function as well as providing good nutrition for those with diabetes. Avoiding processed foods not only ensures proper nutrition but also helps to cut down on the amount of waste products in the body that the kidneys must eliminate from the blood which is essential for those with compromised renal function.

    Eat Healthy Fats

    When it comes to following a diet for diabetes with kidney disease, it is important to eat healthy fats. Healthy fats, like those found in avocados, salmon, olive oil, nuts and seeds can help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease. Eating healthy fats can also help you control your blood sugar levels and provide the body with essential nutrients.

    Additionally, eating healthy fats in moderation can help improve kidney function by providing the kidneys with essential fatty acids that can reduce inflammation and enhance kidney function. To maximize health benefits from eating healthy fats, try to avoid fried foods and highly processed foods that are often high in unhealthy trans-fatty acids.

    Monitor Protein Intake

    Maintaining levels of protein intake is essential for those suffering from diabetic kidney disease. A diet rich in proteins such as lean meats, poultry, fish, beans and legumes can help preserve lean muscle mass and promote healthy function of the kidneys.

    While high-protein diets are beneficial for many patients, it’s important to stay within recommended levels based on individual health. Patients with advanced kidney disease should avoid eating a high-protein diet altogether due to potential side effects like dehydration and an increased risk of cardiovascular events.

    Additionally, it’s important to monitor sodium intake when consuming foods rich in protein such as luncheon meats, hot dogs and cheese. Symptoms of too much sodium may include swelling in the hands or feet, but could vary depending on individual health conditions.

    Meal Planning

    Meal planning is an important aspect of managing diabetes and kidney disease. Eating a balanced diet that includes the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats is important for controlling blood sugar levels and keeping kidneys healthy.

    This article will discuss meal planning guidelines and tips to help those with diabetes and kidney disease make the best dietary choices:


    For diabetics with kidney disease, breakfast is a crucial meal to keep blood sugar levels in check. Protein foods such as eggs, lean lunch meats and Greek yogurt are excellent choices for breakfast. Other healthy options include oatmeal, steel-cut oats and high fiber cereal with low fat milk. A piece of fresh fruit or a serving of vegetables can also be added to the meal for added nutrition.

    If time is an issue for morning meals, consider overnight oats or smoothie bowls with protein powder or Greek yogurt to give your body the protein it needs in an easy-to-make meal. Be sure to check your portion sizes and watch for added sugars and sodium content when selecting prepared foods such as frozen waffles or instant oatmeal packs.


    For diabetics with kidney disease, it is important to maintain a balanced diet that helps to keep blood sugar levels in check while also providing adequate nutrition. Lunch is an important meal to consider when following this type of diet. Some good lunch options include:

    • Lean proteins such as skinless chicken breast, lean cuts of beef or pork, eggs and low-fat cheese provide essential amino acids and healthy fats for energy and muscle maintenance.
    • Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice or barley are rich in fiber and vitamins B1, B3, B5 and B6.
    • Fruits or vegetables are important sources of fiber as well as antioxidants that can protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, these foods can help to round out the nutritional content of a diabetic’s lunch meal while helping them feel more full for longer periods of time.


    Meal planning is an important part of managing diabetes, especially if you have kidney disease. A balanced dinner should include nutrient-dense foods that are rich in protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Protein helps to repair muscles, carbohydrates give you energy and healthy fats keep you full and help your body absorb certain vitamins. It’s also important to get enough potassium-rich foods in your diet to prevent high blood pressure and other complications associated with kidney disease.

    Some delicious dinner options for diabetics with kidney disease include:

    • Grilled salmon or flounder with steamed vegetables or a grilled vegetable kabob.
    • A lean ground beef hamburger with a small side of potatoes or brown rice.
    • A whole wheat tortilla wrap filled with lean chicken breast and vegetables.

    Aim for about 25 to 30 grams of protein for each meal when planning your meals for the day.


    The best diet for diabetics with kidney disease is one that is low in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. It should also include mostly plant-based foods, such as

    • fruits
    • vegetables
    • whole grains
    • legumes
    • nuts
    • seeds

    Additionally, a low-fat protein source is important such as

    • lean meats
    • fish
    • non-animal sources of protein like tofu

    Eating healthy fats like

    • avocado
    • flaxseed oil
    • olive oil

    in moderation can also help to provide essential fatty acids.

    Lastly, it is important for diabetics to be aware of the sugar content of their food choices. By following these dietary guidelines and working closely with a healthcare team diabetics with kidney disease will be able to manage their condition better.

    FAQs about: Best Diet For Diabetic With Kidney Disease

    Q: What diet is best for diabetics with kidney disease?

    A: The best diet for diabetics with kidney disease is a low-protein, low-salt, and low-phosphorus diet. It is important to include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. It is also important to monitor blood sugar levels and limit intake of processed foods, alcohol, and caffeine.

    Q: Is it important to monitor carbohydrate intake for those with diabetes and kidney disease?

    A: Yes, it is important to monitor carbohydrate intake for those with diabetes and kidney disease. You should focus on eating complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables. It is also important to limit added sugar and sugary beverages.

    Q: What are some tips for managing diabetes and kidney disease?

    A: Some tips for managing diabetes and kidney disease include: monitoring blood sugar levels regularly, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and taking prescribed medications. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids and check with your doctor before taking any supplements.

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