Behavioural strategies to self‐manage low‐potassium diets in chronic kidney disease

Andrew Morris, Deborah Lycett

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
    68 Downloads (Pure)



    Dietary potassium restrictions may be challenging to follow, due in part to the restrictive nature of recommendations on foods people enjoy. Little is known how people incorporate low‐potassium diets into their lifestyles.

    To examine the self‐directed behavioural strategies people employ to follow low‐potassium advice.

    Qualitative methodology.

    Thirty‐four adults with chronic kidney disease.

    Semistructured interviews were undertaken in an outpatient department. Thematic analysis was undertaken on transcribed interviews.

    Analysis identified three themes: 'Differing opinions of food'; 'Food generates positive emotions'; and 'Doing what works'. Participants described foods providing different levels of enjoyment. Favourite foods in their habitual diet held either a physiological or a psychological value to them. Five subthemes underpinned the 'Doing what works' theme that described the self‐management behaviours used by participants to follow low‐potassium dietary advice. These were positive reframing; reflection; self‐talk; social support; decisional balance; paradoxical instruction; and knowledge shaping. These techniques helped overcome the conflict between favourite food preferences and dietary restrictions. Dietary restrictions proved more challenging where an emotional connection to a favourite food existed. Restrictions on less preferred foods did not present participants with the same self‐management challenges.

    Promoting behavioural change techniques such as decisional balance, and social support may be a useful strategy to empower people following dietary restrictions. Practitioners should understand whether suggested dietary restrictions include an individual's favourite food; the value attached to it, and explore specific ways to include favourite foods in some way when discussing a low‐potassium diet.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)160-168
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Renal Care
    Issue number3
    Early online date1 Feb 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

    Bibliographical note

    This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Morris, A & Lycett, D 2021, 'Behavioural strategies to self‐manage low‐potassium diets in chronic kidney disease', Journal of Renal Care, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 160-168, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


    Andrew Morris received National Institute of Health Research Clinical Research Network strategic funding while undertaking this study.


    • kidney diseases
    • nutrition therapy
    • renal diet

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Nephrology
    • Advanced and Specialised Nursing


    Dive into the research topics of 'Behavioural strategies to self‐manage low‐potassium diets in chronic kidney disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this