High-phosphorus diet

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Teens eating lunch outside

What is phosphorus?

Phosphorus is a mineral found in foods such as milk and milk products. It works with calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones strong and healthy.

Phosphorus and the kidneys

Although phosphorus is needed to keep your body healthy, too little phosphorus can be dangerous. When the level of phosphorus in your blood is too low, your bones won’t get enough calcium to stay strong.

Keeping your phosphorus levels in a normal range

There are two ways to change the amount of phosphorus in your blood: diet (what you eat) and supplements.

Diet

All foods contain phosphorus. To have more phosphorus in your diet, you simply need to eat more foods that are high in phosphorus. Eating more high-phosphorus foods also means higher phosphorus levels in your blood.

Supplements

Sometimes it isn’t possible to get enough phosphorus from your diet. In this case, you may need to take phosphorus supplements.

Read food labels

Some food labels will show the amount of phosphorus in a food. But remember, even if phosphorus is not marked on the label, it may still be in the food.

Choose foods that have more than 100 mg of phosphorus per serving.

Food labels: Nutrition Facts (one serving)
Amount % Daily Value
PhosphorusMore than 100 mgMore than 10%

High-phosphorus food choices

Vegetables and fruit

Best choices
Artichoke, asparagus, avocado, corn, heart of palm, lotus root, mushroomsVegetable dishes made wtih cream sauces or cheese sauces
PotatoCoconut meat; coconut milk
Figs, jujube, longanLychee, peaches (dry), tamarind

Breads and cereals

Best choices
Whole wheat bread, bran, dark rye bread, soda bread, multigrain bread, corn bread, scone, pumpernickel breadWhole wheat English muffins, whole wheat bagels, whole wheat rolls
Chapatti, roti, pittu, pita, tortilla, papsecoFlours made from quinoa, soy, corn (cornmeal, masa), chickpeas, barley, brown rice, rye or whole wheat
Crackers made from whole wheat flour (brands include Wheat Thins, Breton, Triscuit)Ritz Bits sandwiches with cheese or peanut butter
Whole grain cereals (brands include Life, Shreddies, Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Mueslix, Vive, Vector, Cinnamon Toast Crunch)Bran cereals (brands include Bran Flakes, Raisin Bran, Fruit and Fibre, All Bran, Bran Buds)
Oat cereals; instant oatmealPorridge
BuckwheatBulgur
Wheat germWhole wheat pasta; macaroni and cheese
Brown or wild riceBulgur
Granola and granola barsCookies, cakes, muffins made with whole wheat flour, bran, peanut butter, chocolate, molasses, nuts, seeds or cheese
Store-bought biscuit mixes, waffles and pancakesFrozen waffles and pancakes

Milk and milk alternatives

Best choices
Milk (homogenized, 3.2%, 2%, 1% or skim)Goat milk
Fortified soy or rice drinksEvaporated milk, powdered milk
Pudding, custard, flan, rice puddingYogurt
Processed cheese, cheese strings, cheese saucesPaneer, queso fresco
Frozen yogurtButter
Soups made with milk or cream

Meat and meat alternatives

Best choices
Organ meats such as kidney, liver, heartSausages, bologna, packed luncheon meat with crackers (such as Kids Lunchables or Lunchmates)*
Canned salmon or sardines with bones includedSmelt, fish eggs (such as fish roe or caviar), carp, flounder, clams, oysters, mussels
Peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils (canned or dry); dal; hummus; baked beans; pork and beansFirm tofu
Nuts (except chestnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans)Seeds (sesame, poppy, amaranth)
Whole eggs (including yolk)

*These are high in sodium (salt), so only eat them now and then.

Drinks

Best choices
Tea
Drinks made with milk, buttermilk, coconut milk, chocolate milk, malted milk
Sports drinks such as Gatorade
Chocolate- and malt-based drinks such as hot chocolate, Milo, Horlicks and Ovaltine; coffee substitutes such as Postum and Caflib

Servings of high-phosphorus foods

I am allowed _______ servings of high-phosphorus foods each day.

Examples of serving sizes

Food or drinkRecommended single serving
Milk125 mL (half cup)
Yogurt125 mL (half cup)
Cottage cheese125 mL (half cup)
Egg, whole1 egg
Peanut butter, smooth30 mL (2 tbsp)
Beans or lentils125 mL (half cup)
Hard cheese (such as cheddar, mozzarella, brick, Swiss)30 g (1 oz.)
Pizza1 small slice
Pudding or custard made with milk125 mL (half cup)
Ice cream250 mL (1 cup) or 1 medium scoop
Last updated: November 30th 2017