A low-protein diet limits the amount of protein that you can eat each day.
This diet may be recommended if you have liver or kidney disease. The liver helps in protein digestion, and the kidneys are responsible for removing the waste products of protein digestion. If your liver or kidneys are not fully functioning, they will have to work extra hard to handle the protein that you eat. If you eat more protein than your liver or kidneys can handle, waste products will build up in your blood stream, causing fatigue and a decreased appetite.
If you have chronic kidney failure, adhering to a low-protein diet can delay your need for dialysis for up to a year. With kidney failure, you may also need to make other dietary adjustments, such as limiting the amount of salt and potassium that you eat. You should work with a registered dietitian to come up with an eating plan that meets your nutritional and medical needs.
Dietary protein comes from two sources: animals and plants. Animal products are higher in protein and provide us with complete proteins. Complete proteins contain all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need to live and that we have to get from the food we eat. Plant products are lower in protein and provide us with incomplete proteins. Both types of protein should be a part of a healthful, low-protein diet.
Eating Guide for a Low-Protein DietThe following chart categorizes food by group and lists the amount of protein per serving. Your doctor or dietitian will let you know how many grams of protein you can consume each day. On this diet, it is important that you work with a dietitian to make sure that you are within the recommended protein range and meeting all of your nutrient needs.My daily protein limit is _______ grams. Meat and Meat Substitutes____ Servings per dayOne serving = 7 grams proteinTypeOne ServingBeef, poultry, fish, lamb, veal1 ounceCheese1 ounce or cup shreddedEggs1Peanut butter2 tablespoonDried peas or beans (cooked) cup Milk____ Servings per dayOne serving = 4 grams proteinTypeOne ServingMilk, cream, and yogurt cupIce cream cup Starches____ Servings per dayOne serving = 3 grams proteinTypeOne ServingBagel (varies), 4-ounce of a bagel (1-ounce)Bread (white, pumpernickel, whole wheat, rye)1 sliceBroth-based soup1 cupCooked beans, peas, or corn cupCooked cereal cupCrackers4-6English muffin, hot dog bun, or hamburger bunPasta cupRice1/3 cupPotato1 small or cup mashedSweet potato or yam cupTortilla1 smallUnsweetened, dry cereal cup Vegetables____ Servings per dayOne serving = 2 grams proteinTypeOne ServingCooked vegetables cupRaw vegetables1 cupTomato or vegetable juice cup Fruits____ Servings per day
One serving = 0.5 grams proteinTypeOne ServingCanned fruit cupDried fruit cupFresh fruit1 small or 1 cup (eg, cut up or berries)Fresh juice cup Fats and SugarsPure fats and sugars contain no protein. But foods made mostly of fat or sugar, such as cake, cookies, ice cream, snack chips, and fried foods tend to be high in calories and low in nutrition. But there are some fats that are healthful in moderation, including olive oil, canola oil, avocados, and nuts. Ask your dietitian about how foods from this group can fit into your diet. Suggestions Here are some suggestions to help you with eating a low-protein diet: When planning a meal or filling your plate with food, focus on the vegetables and grains, and then supplement with a small serving of meat, if desired. When preparing meals at home, be sure to weigh (with a kitchen scale) and measure your foods to make sure you are getting the correct portion size. Ask your dietitian about special low-protein products, including low-protein baking mixes, breads, cookies, and crackers. RESOURCES: American Dietetic Associationhttp://www.eatright.org National Kidney Foundationhttp://www.kidney.org CANADIAN RESOURCES: Dietitians of Canadahttp://www.dietitians.ca The Kidney Foundation of Canada
http://www.kidney.ca References: Controlled protein and sodium diet for kidney disease. Ohio State University Medical Center website. Available at: http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/pdfs/PatientEd/Materials/PDFDocs/nut-diet/nut-kid/controlled-protein.pdf . Accessed April 25, 2007. Diet for kidney disease. University of Utah Health Sciences Center website. Available at: http://uuhsc.utah.edu/pated/handouts/handout.cfm?id=858 . Accessed April 25, 2007. Low-protein diet postpones dialysis. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/1999/FEBRUARY/990215.HTM . Accessed April 25, 2007. Low-protein recipes. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: http://www.kidney.org/atoz/atozItem.cfm?id=89 . Accessed April 24, 2007. Last reviewed May 2008 by Dianne Scheinberg, MS, RD, LDNPlease be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.