Returning to a normal diet with daily dialysis

How soon can one resume a regular diet when starting daily dialysis? Are there any barriers to get over when one has had it drilled into one’s head not to eat bananas, potatoes, sodium and all the rest? Does it take some time to re-acquire a taste for previously forbidden foods or to be able to handle more food intake?

I was eating normally right away! The switch from 3/week to short daily didn’t make huge differences in bloodwork for me, at least not immediately, but the switch to daily nocturnal was dramatic even after the very first nocturnal treatment, and no amount of cheese and other dairy products seems to be enough to raise my phosphorus above the normal range.

When I say normally, I don’t mean I was eating tons of bananas and drinking a tall glass of orange juice. What I mean is that I started eating whatever I want, at any time without even thinking about it, like a normal person: cheeseburgers, ice cream, french fries, pizza, etc. I have zero restrictions. On short daily, I still had to take a binder, but on daily nocturnal, no binder, and I did have to eat more phosphorus.

The only thing that I still keep on eye on is potassium (especially on the off-day), for the obvious reason that potassium is the only food that can kill a dialysis patient pretty quickly if you overdo it. So for me, that’s the “within reason” part. But other than that, bring on the salt, the phosphorus and anything else. As for potassium, I do eat “normally”, but I don’t go overboard, except when the meal is within 4-5 hours of my next treatment. Then, I’ll gladly eat seconds and thirds of potatoes, etc. And of course, pre-soaking is a thing of the past.


Pierre, do you mean you were eating normally right away when you were doing SDD or not until you started doing SND?

How often are labs done with daily txs?

Not clear on the potassium part…can you have a glass of orange juice for breakfast or a whole banana? Could you have a whole baked potatoe for supper and banana cream pie for dessert or is that too much potassium?

My appetite was pretty good right after I started those short daily treatments. It cost me a lot of money at fast foods during those 6 weeks :slight_smile:

I started eating normally, really, right after I started the short daily. But almost from day one after starting daily nocturnal, my phosphorus was just below the normal range, even with adding phosphorus to my dialysate, and so I really opened up on eating anything at all. I also found I actually needed to eat salty foods just to maintain my blood pressure (and this from a guy who had been on multiple BP meds for at least a decade and a half.

Yes, I can eat a whole banana for breakfast no problem, and I can have one or two baked potatoes plus ice cream or whatever for supper on top of it. I’ve done that many time. Now, I have to caution that this is Ok for me… because I know what my bloodwork results are like. You guys will have to figure out what’s right for yourselves :slight_smile:

Now, if you ask me if I could eat 2 or 3 bananas, probably but I don’t know. I’ve never tried it. But I can say I’ve had a BLT for breakfast with a small glass of orange juice, eaten a peach or orange or other fruit later on, had french fries or a couple of baked potatoes for supper. Some days, I have bean burritos, maybe a few bowls of lentil soup, and lots of cheese. So, it’s a normal diet, without going overboard. You just don’t have to stop to think about it. It’s definitely not your average dialysis patient’s diet.

I can only speak for my own experience, but my labs are drawn the first week of every month. I draw them myself, centrifuge them, and then I take the tubes to the lab in the morning.


In my case right away, more foods to eat from but it was not a smooth transition, you see I have been dialyzing many years with the habit of avoiding such foods so I had to re-train myself to eat more liberal…takes time. Overall, it depends on ones labs so normally it takes maybe about up to 3 months to find out whats your right numbers…basicly they’d do lab work every week until they find the right numbers for your prescription…neverthless, eating a bit more on first week of daily-short is absolutely a wonder…

You can start eating normally right away. I would make an appointment with your dietition beforehand to make sure you are right to do this. I am on nocturnal and I can eat whatever I want. You do need to be sensible about it though, but you do need to have some potassium. Dont go and have 5 bananas and a whole block of chocolate :smiley:
I can easily eat a whole tomato or a big baked potato with no problems. Just dont have alot of high potassium foods for every meal, spread it out. I usually have tomato for breakfast, a salad sandwhich for lunch, and whatever for dinner. I drink coffee, milo, milk, juice, all with no problems.
When I was on conventional Dx, I couldnt even look sideways at a tomato without my potassium going over 5.
When you first start, you probly will have regular pre and post bloods to make sure the dialysate you are using is adequate, and all your levels are ok.