Low Protein Diet for Kidney Disease

By Michele A Clarke

According to Medline Plus, a special diet is required when you have kidney disease. The diet will be low in protein, sodium and potassium. This balance is less taxing on the kidneys and will allow them to function more efficiently.


Protein is needed in the body for growth, building of muscles and repairing of tissues. It is found in large quantities in animal sources, such as meats, seafood and dairy products; it is also found in plant sources, such as breads, cereals, vegetables and fruits. Protein is necessary in the body, but when it has too much, it produces a waste called urea, which is difficult for compromised kidneys to remove. The key with kidney disease is to have just enough protein without taking in excess amounts.

How Much Protein Should You Have?

The amount of protein that you should have should be greatly reduced. Most of your calories should be coming from carbohydrates. According to the University of Maryland, you should have 0.6 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. If your condition is one that causes you to have a slightly larger amount of protein in your urine such as nephrotic syndrome, you are able to have 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

Besides reducing your protein intake, you should also reduce your sodium and phosphorus intake too. These are all important factors according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Food Sources

According to Every Diet (see Resources), one of the simplest ways to reduce your protein intake is to start using less. For example, use fewer slices of lunch meat and fill your sandwich with thicker breads or rolls and vegetables that will have less protein. You can also start thinking differently, instead of having your meat be the main dish, think of it as the side dish and have a complex carbohydrate as the main dish. Also, make casserole dishes with rice as the main ingredient and add vegetables and meat just as a flavoring.

Here is a sample one-day diet from Everydiet.com: For breakfast have ¾ cup Cheerios with ½ cup non-dairy creamer, ½ banana and ½ cup orange juice. For your mid-morning snack, have a fruit roll-up. Lunchtime consists of a turkey sandwich with 1 ounce turkey, 2 slices of bread, lettuce, ½ cup tomato, ½ cup green beans, mayonnaise, a medium apple and ½ cup fruit punch. For an afternoon snack, enjoy a Popsicle. For dinner a 2 ounce hamburger, ½ cup white rice, ¼ cup broccoli, ¼ cup cauliflower, tossed salad with ranch dressing and ½ cup pineapple. For an evening snack have 1 ounce of gum drops.

If you are diabetic, speak to a renal dietitian before staring any diet plan.

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