Low Phosphorus food list: According to A Dietitian & FREE PDF

Nourish your kidney with low phosphorus foods

Here are common questions I get as a dietitian:

What food is lowest in phosphorus?

Are baked beans high in phosphate?

What naturally lowers phosphorus?

What kind of meat is low in phosphorus? 

Right off the bat, I want to start with the most common question of them all: How much phosphorus can you have in a low phosphorus diet?  Although it’s individualized, the general rule of thumb of LOW PHOS is equal to = 150 mg phosphorus or less (12% DV).

Let’s look at what high phosphorus does to the body and straight into a low phosphorus food list. 

Impact of High Phosphorus on Kidney Health

High phosphorus (Phos) levels, known as hyperphosphatemia, can have significant implications for kidney health, especially in individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD). 

Phosphorus and calcium go hand in hand. High phosphorus levels in the body have been associated with vascular calcification. It means a build up of calcium in your coronary arteries, leading up to serious health risks such as stroke. 

High phosphorus can affect the balance of minerals in the body, leading to secondary hyperparathyroidism. This causes increased production of parathyroid hormone (PTH), which leads to bone and mineral disorders.

Another important impact on high Phosphorus on the body is ​​Muscle Weakness and Anemia. Therefore it is important to manage and limit phosphorus consumption for kidney health.

What food is lowest in phosphorus?

If you’re looking for foods that are low in phosphorus, it’s important to focus on options that are kidney-friendly, especially if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Also check out my renal diet grocery list for a FREE PDF shopping list download.

Here are some foods that are generally lower in phosphorus:


  • Apples (peeled)
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • Pineapple (in moderation)
  • Watermelon (in moderation)
  • Peaches (canned, drained)
  • Plums


  • Cucumbers
  • Bell peppers
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Carrots (in moderation)


  • Chicken (skinless, breast)
  • Turkey (skinless, breast)
  • Fish (e.g., salmon, trout, tilapia)
  • Eggs
  • Tofu


  • White rice
  • White bread
  • Pasta (not whole grain)
  • Couscous
  • Quinoa (in moderation)
  • Oats

Dairy or Dairy Alternatives:

  • Low-fat or fat-free milk
  • Yogurt (low in phosphorus)
  • Almond milk or other non-dairy alternatives (check labels for phosphorus content)


  • Unsalted nuts -½ cup (e.g., almonds, cashews, walnuts)
  • Rice cakes
  • Popcorn (air-popped and unsalted)
  • Hard-boiled eggs


  • Water
  • Herbal teas
  • Fresh Lemonade
  • Cranberry juice (in moderation)

Condiments and Seasonings:

  • Olive oil
  • Fresh herbs (parsley, basil, cilantro)
  • Garlic
  • Onion powder
  • Lemon juice
  • Low-sodium or no-salt-added seasonings

Sweets and Desserts (in moderation):

  • Gelatin (sugar-free)
  • Sorbet
  • Popsicles
  • Angel food cake

Frozen Foods:

Frozen food & vegetables (without added sauces)

Hidden Phosphorus 

High phosphorus levels lead to numerous complications such as bone and mineral disorders and cardiovascular issues. Here are some common hidden phosphorus traps to be aware of:

Processed and Packaged Foods:

Many processed and packaged foods, including convenience meals and snacks, contain phosphorus-based additives. Look for terms like “phosphate” or “phosphoric acid” on ingredient lists.

Sodas and Dark Colas:

Dark colas often contain phosphoric acid, which can contribute to increased phosphorus levels. Consider choosing lighter or clear sodas or opt for phosphorus-free alternatives.

Dairy Products:

While dairy is a good source of calcium, it’s also high in phosphorus. Choose low-phosphorus dairy or dairy alternatives, such as low-fat or fat-free milk, and limit high-phosphorus cheeses.

Processed Meats:

Processed meats, like sausages, hot dogs, and deli meats, may have added phosphorus-containing preservatives. Opt for fresh, unprocessed meats whenever possible.

Baked Goods:

Commercially baked goods, including cakes, cookies, and pastries, often use baking powder or baking soda as leavening agents, or additives such as Sodium Aluminum Phosphate both of which can contribute to phosphorus content.

Canned and Processed Foods:

Canned and processed foods, including soups, sauces, canned sardines, instant ramen noodles and ready-made meals, may contain phosphorus-based additives for preservation and flavor enhancement. Choose fresh or homemade options when feasible.

Fast Food and Takeout:

Fast food and takeout meals tend to be high in sodium and phosphorus additives. When dining out, inquire about preparation methods and ask for phosphorus-free alternatives.

Canned Vegetables and Beans:

Canned vegetables and beans may have added phosphorus in the form of preservatives or processing agents. Look out for ingredients Sodium Phosphates, Phosphoric Acid, Pyrophosphates and anything that has the word PHOS on them. Choose fresh or frozen vegetables and cook dried beans at home.

Some Medications:

Some medications for example antacids, and phosphorus supplements can contribute to high phosphorus in the body.. Discuss medication options and potential side effects with your healthcare provider.

Certain Condiments:

Condiments like ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise can contain phosphorus-containing additives. Check labels for low-phosphorus alternatives or use them sparingly.

Encouragement for Maintaining Kidney Health

Optimizing Medication Efficacy

Phosphate binders (calcium acetate, Phoslo, Renvela, Auryxia) commonly prescribed to individuals with CKD. It works by binding to dietary phosphorus, preventing its absorption in the digestive tract. Limiting high phosphorus food intake allows these medications to be more effective in controlling phosphorus levels.

This may involve choosing low phosphorus foods and avoiding high phosphorus sources to help manage and maintain overall kidney health.

It’s crucial for individuals with kidney disease to work closely with healthcare professionals, including nephrologists and registered dietitians, to develop a personalized dietary plan that addresses their specific needs and stage of kidney disease. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top