What Is a Low-Protein Diet?
This diet limits how much protein you can eat each day.
Why Should I Follow This Diet?
You may need to eat this way if you have liver or kidney problems. The liver helps you digest proteins. The kidneys take away the waste products of protein digestion. If your these organs are not working well, they will have to work extra hard to handle the protein that you eat. If you eat more protein than they can handle, waste products will build up in your blood. This will cause fatigue and a lack of hunger.
If you have chronic kidney failure, eating this way can slow your need for dialysis for up to a year. With kidney failure, you may also need to make other changes. These may be limiting salt, potassium, phosphorous, and fluid. Work with a dietitian to come up with a plan that's right for you.
Dietary protein comes from two sources: animals and plants. Animal products are higher in protein and provide us with complete proteins. Complete proteins have all of the 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 your diet.
This chart lists food by group and the amount of protein per serving. Your doctor or dietitian will let you know how many grams of protein you can have each day. You must work with a dietitian to make sure that you stay in your protein range and meet all of your nutrient needs.
Meat and Meat Substitutes
1 serving = 7 grams protein
1 serving = 4 grams protein
1 serving = 3 grams protein
1 serving = 2 grams protein
1 serving = 0.5 grams protein
Fats and Sugars
Pure fats and sugars don't have protein. But, foods made mostly of fat or sugar, such as cake, cookies, ice cream, snack chips, and fried foods are high in calories and low in nutrition. There are some fats that are healthy in small amounts, such as olive oil, canola oil, avocados, and nuts. Ask your dietitian about the foods in this group.
Here are some tips:
- When planning a meal or filling your plate with food, focus on veggies and grains, then add a small serving of meat, if you want.
- When you make meals at home, be sure to weigh (with a kitchen scale) and measure your foods to make sure you are getting the right portion size.
- Ask your dietitian about low-protein products, such as low-protein baking mixes, breads, cookies, and crackers.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review BoardDianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
- Review Date: 12/2018 -
- Update Date: 12/05/2018 -