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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Improving the understanding, detection, and management of kidney disease.

Tips for People with Chronic Kidney Disease – Food Label Reading (Fact Sheet)

If you have CKD, you may need to limit some nutrients in your diet such as sodium, phosphorus, or potassium. You should limit saturated and trans fats, too. Read the food label to help make healthy food choices for your kidneys.

What Should I Look for on the Nutrition Facts Label?

Look for sodium on the Nutrition Facts label. Some Nutrition Facts labels will list phosphorus and potassium, too, but they do not have to.

An image of a food label showing that the serving size listed for the item is 1 cup, but the package contains two servings. If you eat two servings, the amount doubles. One serving of the item has 660 milligrams of sodium. This is 28% of the daily value for sodium. Food with 5% or less of the daily value for sodium is low in sodium. Food with 20% or more of the daily value for sodium is high in sodium.

What Should I Look for on the Ingredient List?

1. Look for phosphorus, or for words with PHOS, on the ingredient list. Many packaged foods have phosphorus. Choose a different food when the ingredient list has PHOS on the label.

Ingredients: Rehydrated potatoes (Water, Potatoes, Sodium acid pyrophosphate), Beef (Beef, Water, Salt, Sodium phosphate), Wine...
This ingredient list shows that the food has added phosphorus.

2. Look for potassium on the ingredient list. For example, potassium chloride can be used in place of salt in some packaged foods, like canned soups and tomato products. Limit foods with potassium on the ingredient list.

Ingredients: Tomato juice, Vegetable juice blend, Potassium chloride, Sugar, Magnesium, Salt, Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid), Citric acid, Spice extract, Flavoring, Disodium inosinate, Disodium guanylate.
This ingredient list shows that the food has added potassium.

Did You Know? Ingredients are listed in order of the amount in the food. The food has the most of the first ingredient on the list, and the least of the last ingredient on the list.

Look for Claims on Food Packages to Help You Find Foods:

Lower in Saturated/Trans Fat:

Lower in Sodium:*

*Sodium chloride (salt) is replaced in some foods with potassium chloride. If you need to watch your potassium, check the ingredient list.

Tips for People with Chronic Kidney Disease – Food Label Reading (Fact Sheet)

Also available in Spanish.

Page last updated: February 6, 2013