Fast Food, Phosphorus Containing Food Additives, and the Renal Diet (en Espaņol)
(Note - now available are two Spanish language tools to help educate patients on phosphorus additives in food.)
Phosphorus additives are added to convenience and fast foods for many reasons, including as preservatives, leavening agents, and flavor enhancers. Unlike phosphorus that naturally occurs in meats, dairy products, whole grains, and nuts, phosphorus from additives is almost completely absorbed by the body. Phosphorus control is necessary for dialysis patients so it is important for them to become aware of these additives and the foods that contain them.
Patients should avoid foods that contain phosphorus additives or are naturally high in phosphorus. Because phosphorus additives are added both to foods that naturally contain phosphorus as well as foods that do not, it is difficult to estimate the phosphorus content of foods that contain phosphorus additives, including fast foods.
In an effort to help dialysis patients avoid foods that are high in phosphorus or that contain phosphorus additives, the ingredient lists for many popular fast food chains were examined. The presence of phosphorus additives or ingredients that are naturally high in phosphorus was noted. There are several popular fast food chains listed below. For each restaurant, you will find a list of foods that contain phosphorus additives and should be avoided. You will also find a list of foods from each restaurant that are better choices to eat. Regional menu items were not included in the analysis.
To view a list of foods with phosphorus additves for a particular fast food restaurant click on the link that says 'Foods with Phosphorus Additives.' For menu items that have no phosphorus additives and fit within the renal diet click the link that says 'Better Choices.'
All files open as pdfs. Note - for some it may be better to download the pdf file first and then open. To download from a Windows computer right click on the link and select 'save as.' Save the document to your desktop then double click to open.
If you are using a Macintosh you can save the file by holding down the 'control' button on your keyboard while clicking on the link and select 'Save Link As.' Save to your desktop then double click to open.
Spanish language tools to help educate patients:
Fósforos Escondidos en la Dieta (pdf)
Productos Alimenticios que Comúnmente Contienen Aditivos de Fósforo (pdf)
Long John Silver's
We are in the development phase of an online tool that will allow the information on this page to be updated and expanded. You can view this tool at the Phosphorus Containing Food Additives wiki.
Effect of Food Additives on Hyperphosphatemia Among Patients With End-stage Renal Disease
Catherine Sullivan, Srilekha S. Sayre, Janeen B. Leon, Rhoderick Machekano, Thomas E. Love, David Porter, Marquisha Marbury, Ashwini R. Sehgal
Journal of the American Medical Association - February 11, 2009 (Vol. 301, Issue 6, Pages 629-635)
Fast Food, Phosphorus Containing Food Additives, and the Renal Diet
Srilekha Sarathy, Catherine M. Sullivan, Janeen B. Leon, Ashwini R. Sehgal
Journal of Renal Nutrition - September 2008 (Vol. 18, Issue 5, Pages 466-470, DOI: 10.1053/j.jrn.2008.05.007)
Public Health Approach to Addressing Hyperphosphatemia Among Dialysis Patients
Ashwini R. Sehgal, Catherine Sullivan, Janeen B. Leon, Karil Bialostosky
Journal of Renal Nutrition - May 2008 (Vol. 18, Issue 3, Pages 256-261, DOI: 10.1053/j.jrn.2007.12.002)
Phosphorus-Containing Food Additives and the Accuracy of Nutrient Databases: Implications for Renal Patients
Catherine M. Sullivan, Janeen B. Leon, Ashwini R. Sehgal
Journal of Renal Nutrition - September 2007 (Vol. 17, Issue 5, Pages 350-354, DOI: 10.1053/j.jrn.2007.05.008)
Supported by grant number DK51472 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Bethesda, Maryland, and by the Leonard C. Rosenberg Renal Research Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio.