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.
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
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
- White rice
- Refined cereal (rice cereal, corn cereal)
- Cream of wheat
- 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
- Biscuits, quick breads, and pancakes made with baking powder
- Cream cheese
- Rice milk
- Sour cream
- 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
- Beef liver
- Chicken liver
- Fish roe
- Organ meats
|Fats and Oils|
|Snacks, Sweets, and Condiments|
- Fruit-flavored hard candy
- Fruit-flavored jelly beans
- Chocolate milk
- Hot cocoa
- Drinks made with milk
- Canned iced tea
- Ale and beer
- Baking powder
- Brewer’s yeast
- 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. Nutrition Care Manual website. Available at:
. Accessed January 20, 2010.
National Kidney Foundation website. Available at:
. Accessed January 21, 2010.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.