Thursday, 16 June 2011 08:58

Can people on dialysis eat fruits?

Written by  Kamal Shah
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Most patients on dialysis are asked not to eat any fruit. All fruits, they say have high potassium. A high potassium is bad for the heart. "You can even die", they are told.

This is not entirely true!

Here is a table of the potassium content of some foods:

Food Item Potassium content*
Whole Wheat Flour 315
Green Gram 843
Buffalo's Milk 90
Cow's Milk 140
Apple 75
Guava 91
Papaya 69
Pear 96
Pineapple 37
*mg of Potassium per 100 g of edible item
(Source: Nutritive Value of Indian Foods - National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad)

If you look at the table above, you can clearly see that some fruits have much less potassium than other foods that we commonly eat!

Then why is it  that we are asked not to eat fruits? I am not so sure!


I believe people on dialysis can have a little low potassium fruit everyday. And on the day of dialysis, some additional fruit just before dialysis or during the first half an hour of dialysis should not harm either.

I find that the craving for some food is probably worse than the effect of the food itself. When people are deprived of something, they start craving for that.

I remember hearing a dialysis patient saying he hasn't tasted a mango for the last four years! The technician told him he can have half a little mango in the first half an hour of dialysis. He was so excited! He is still alive and kicking.

Doctors and dietitians probably don't realize that craving something can lead to depression. So why deny someone the joy of a fruit when he or she can actually have it safely?

On dialysis, especially when you are getting good, regular dialysis (at least thrice weekly, four hours each time), then you can eat most things, provided they are in moderation.

So, feel free to talk to your doctor or dietitian about this and check whether you can enjoy a little fruit as well!


Kamal Shah

Kamal Shah

Hello, I'm Kamal from Hyderabad, India. I have been on dialysis for the last 13 years, six of them on PD, the rest on hemo. I have been on daily nocturnal home hemodialysis for the last four and half years. I can do pretty much everything myself. I love to travel and do short weekend trips or longer trips to places which have dialysis centers. Goa in India is a personal favorite. It is a great holiday destination and has two very good dialysis centers.

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