Pulses and Chronic Kidney Disease: Potential Health Benefits from a Once Forbidden Food

  • Fiona N. Byrne
  • Mona S. CalvoEmail author


Dietary treatment may slow the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition where the ability to filter excess fluid and metabolic waste decreases over time. By restricting salt, protein, high phosphorus and potassium foods, better control over waste product and toxin build-up may be achieved in CKD. Hyperphosphatemia is a serious complication as CKD progresses since elevated serum phosphate can disrupt normal hormonal regulation of calcium and phosphorus leading to cardiovascular disease. Dietary restriction of phosphorus involves limiting high protein foods such as dairy, meat and some plant foods including pulses, largely due to their high phosphorus content. Restriction of pulses in renal diets have come into question since better health outcomes have been observed with diets higher in plant proteins. In this chapter, we reason that the high phosphorus content of pulses may not be sufficient to restrict a quality protein source such as pulses in renal diets since much of the phosphorus is not readily absorbed being bound-up in the form of phytate. We present evidence in support of the benefits of pulse consumption in CKD.


Pulses Legumes Chronic Kidney Disease End Stage Renal Disease Phosphorus Calcium Potassium Plant protein Dietary fiber Acid-base balance Phytate Renal diet 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nutrition & DieteticsCork University HospitalCorkIreland
  2. 2.Department of NephrologyCork University HospitalCorkIreland
  3. 3.HRB Clinical Research FacilityUniversity College CorkCorkIreland
  4. 4.Retired, US Food and Drug AdministrationSilver SpringUSA

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