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New Food Pyramid for Kidney Disease Patients

Italians have “refashioned” the food pyramid.

Renal & Urology News recently reported that researchers at the University of Pisa (Italy) tailored the traditional version to include phosphorous foods addressing the dietary needs of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and dialysis patients.

Those suffering from CKD, or a mineral and bone disorder (MBD), are advised to limit phosphorous in their diets. This new pyramid serves as a helpful tool for patients, as well as their doctors and caregivers, in knowing which foods should be encouraged and also avoided.


Simple nutrition strategies for CKD sufferers include:

  • Restricting protein intake (in non-dialysis patients, as those on dialysis may require extra protein)
  • Shifting from phosphorus-rich foods to low phosphorus foods
  • Boiling foods to reduce mineral content (According to research, boiling reportedly decreases phosphorus by 51% in vegetables, 48% in legumes, and 38% in meats.)
  • Limiting phosphate additives, like those found in processed and heavily-preserved foods

Foods on this new pyramid are arranged in six levels (according to phosphorous content) and color coded like a traffic light: greens for go, yellows for slow, and reds for stop. Suggested servings per day are also incorporated.

Following is a brief snapshot of foods from each level:

  1. Green: protein-free foods, fruits, vegetables, egg whites, olive oil, and sugar
  2. Light green: cereal, rice, pasta, white bread, and legumes
  3. Yellow: meats such as lamb, rabbit, ham, or fish (e.g., trout, tuna, cod, hake, and sole), milk, and yogurt
  4. Orange: turkey, offal, shrimp, squid, salmon, and soft cheeses
  5. Orange-Red: nuts, egg yolk, and hard cheeses
  6. Red: colas, soft drinks, processed meat, and processed cheese

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