Tests & Procedures



Phosphorus Restriction

Controlling phosphorus in your child's diet

Most children with renal failure need to limit the amount of phosphorus in foods they eat. The kidneys help remove excess phosphorus from your child's body. If the kidneys are not working well, excess phosphorus builds up in the bloodstream and can cause calcium to leave the bones. This can make your child's bones weak and easy to break.

What foods are high in phosphorus?

The following foods are high in phosphorous and should be restricted if your child has renal failure. Your child's doctor or dietitian will tell you how much phosphorous your child can have each day.

  • Dairy products, including:
    • Milk (all kinds: whole, low-fat, skim, chocolate, and buttermilk)
    • Cheeses (all except cream cheese)
    • Puddings and custards
    • Yogurt
    • Ice cream
  • Meats, chicken, turkey, and fish (especially organ meats)
  • Dried beans and peas, including:
    • Black-eyes
    • Field peas
    • Kidney
    • Navy
    • Northern
    • Pinto
    • Lima
  • Nuts (all kinds and peanut butter)
  • Seeds, bran, and whole grain cereals and breads

Your child's doctor may recommend that your child take a phosphorus binder, such as calcium carbonate. When calcium is taken with meals and snacks it prevents the phosphorus in foods from being absorbed by the body. This will help keep your child's blood level of phosphorus at an acceptable level and help keep his or her bones healthy and strong. Be sure your child always takes his or her phosphorus binder as prescribed.

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Last reviewed: 1/15/2013