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Kidney Disease

Q. What are the main causes of kidney disease?

A. There are a number of different causes of kidney disease.  The two main causes of kidney disease are high blood sugars and high blood pressure.  If you have diabetes it is important to work with your Doctor and Dietitian to maintain good blood sugar control. 

A diet low in fat, low in sugar and including whole grains and fresh fruits/vegetables is good blood sugar control.  Maintaining a healthy weight and including regular exercise is also important. Visiting the Canadian Diabetes Association website at can give you some basic information on diabetes and blood sugar control.  
Regular checkups with your doctor can help you find out if you have high blood pressure. Working to decrease stress, maintain a healthy weight and including regular exercise can help prevent high blood pressure. A diet rich in fruits/vegetables, whole grains and low in salt can also help to maintain good blood pressure. To learn more about high blood pressure visit the Canadian Hypertension Association website at  
If you already have kidney disease, these nutrition tips may not be right for you. A Dietitian who works with people living with kidney disease can help make a diet plan that fits your needs. 

Q. If I have kidney disease does that mean that I should stop eating high protein foods?

A. A high protein diet should be avoided if you have kidney disease, however you should not stop eating all protein-rich foods.  Your body needs protein to help muscles work well and avoid getting sick. Examples of high protein foods are meat, fish, poultry, eggs and cheese.  Generally most people with kidney disease who are not on dialysis need between 4-6 oz (120-180 g) of high protein foods per day. A Dietitian who works with people living with kidney disease can help you find out how much protein you need to stay healthy.

Q. I have calcium-oxalate kidney stones.  What diet can I follow to prevent the formation of more stones?

A. Following a special diet can help to prevent the formation of calcium-oxalate kidney stones.  As kidney stones tend to recur, the diet tips listed below should be followed for the long term. These are general guidelines; a dietitian can help to provide you with individual recommendations.

  • Drink 3L fluids (1.5 L including water ) each day
  • Follow Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating, which recommends two to four servings of milk and milk products per day.  One serving equals 1 cup milk, ¾ cup yogurt, 50 g cheese. 
  • Avoid high animal protein diets.  Limit to  4 - 6 oz (120-180 g) animal protein (meat / fish / poultry / eggs / cheese) per day.
  • Limit high oxalate foods.  These include tea, chocolate, beans, nuts, wheat germ, spinach, rhubarb and strawberries. 
  • Follow a no added salt diet and limit high salt foods.
  • Visit the National Kidney Foundation’s website for more information

Location and contact

Clinical Nutrition

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue,
H-wing, 3rd floor,
room H314
Toronto, ON M4N 3M5

Current Patients *

Phone: 416-480-4222   

* Please note that due to regulations, reception may not be able to provide information directly, but can hopefully put post-discharge patients in touch with the Registered Dietitian that provided care.

SUNDEC appointments

Phone: 416-480-4805

Patient Food Services

Phone: 416-480-6100 ext. 62390