There are a lot of potentially confusing rules and details for dieting with a chronic health condition. The more you read and research, the more you seem to find conflicting information. One example of this is questions about protein and chronic kidney disease.
Are you supposed to worry about eating enough or too much protein when you have renal disease? The answer to this very common question can be a bit complicated.
Protein is a necessary part of anyone’s diet. It is important for people to get enough protein. Typically, people need 40 to 60 grams of protein per day as part of a healthy, balanced diet. With chronic kidney disease, however, it is often recommended that patients limit their protein intake.
Why is protein an issue for kidney disease patients?
It is the kidney’s primary job to process and filter out waste, excess, and byproducts. Everything that you eat or drink goes through your kidneys, which is why a healthy diet has so much impact on kidney disease. Just like everything else you eat or drink, protein creates waste and byproducts that are usually processed and filtered out by your kidneys.
Kidneys that are no longer working their best will not be able to filter out the waste that protein creates. This results in a buildup of waste in the blood. Too much protein and protein waste build up in the blood can lead to nausea and vomiting, weakness, and a host of other health problems.
For this reason, doctors will often recommend a limited protein intake for chronic kidney disease patients.
Is protein still important for kidney disease patients?
Yes. Protein is still needed to help keep you strong and healthy. Protein is needed for important functions like fighting infections and healing injuries. Although limited protein intake may be recommended, in most cases you should still include protein in your diet. Your doctor will give you a daily amount of protein intake to strive for.
You may or may not need to limit your protein intake. The amount of protein that you should include in your kidney disease diet is complete up to your doctor. You should always talk to your physician regarding any diet or lifestyle changes. What works for another kidney disease patient may not be right for you.
Protein is an important part of any healthy diet, and still is for kidney disease patients. Due to the loss of function of the kidneys, sometimes protein intake needs to be limited. This possibility increases as kidney disease worsens, and is much more common in the later stages of chronic kidney disease. To learn more about your kidney disease, click here.