Are High Protein Diets Safe For People With Kidney Problems?

Written by Taasir

Taasir English News Network | Uploaded on 23-April-2019

Diets high in protein are usually recommended for people who are trying to lose weight. A high protein diet refers to a meal plan where protein contributes to around 50-55% or more of the calories. Typically, for all healthy individuals with no medical condition, a high protein diet is pretty safe to follow. But, if you are a kidney patient, you might be required to be a little careful with your protein intake. This is because the kidney function is compromised to eliminate all the waste products of protein metabolism, says nutritionist Neha Dhulla.

High protein diet for kidney patients: important things to know Excess load of proteins on kidneys can cause damage and worsen the renal condition. Guidance from a nephrologist and a qualified nutritionist is of prime importance.

Intake of protein in kidney patients is typically decided by the doctor based on the severity of the disease,  renal parameters, nutrition status and the patient’s weight. Because protein cannot be completely eliminated from the diet, it is very important to carefully plan the diet in compliance with the patient.

Ask her if protein-rich foods are harmful for kidney patients and she says that the quality and quantity of proteins – and not protein-rich foods per se – needs monitoring for kidney patients. “Proteins are one of the most essential nutrients that the body requires for growth and maintenance. Thus, it cannot be generalised that proteins are harmful for kidney patients. The source of protein and the quantity of proteins, depending on the patient’s severity of kidney damage, has to be taken into consideration. Accordingly, the diet for kidney patients has to be planned,” says Neha.

Planning a diet for kidney patients varies at different stages of kidney disease, hence there is no single diet that can be used for all. Every patient is different and hence – the diets have to be customised. “Along with the protein intake, one also has to keep in mind the potassium, phosphorus and the sodium levels of the patient. Also, fluid intake has to be regulated in cases where there is a fluid restriction. This is calculated based on the patient’s urine output and dialysis settings,” she explains.

A person with chronic kidney disease who is not on dialysis will have to restrict the intake of proteins depending on the renal parameters, however, a patient who is on dialysis will have some allowance in protein intake. “High-quality proteins like lean cuts of meat, eggs, soy proteins, nut proteins, beans etc are recommended to include in a renal diet. Dairy proteins are usually high in potassium and phosphorus – hence their intake has to be regulated accordingly. Renal protein supplements are also a good option to incorporate high-quality proteins that are low in sodium, potassium and phosphorus,” she adds.

Also read: 6 Kidney-Friendly Foods You Must Include In Your Diet

She gives the following tips to improve kidney health

1. Keep yourself well hydrated (Except for end-stage kidney disease where there is fluid restriction)

2. Consume a balanced diet: A balanced diet is the key to keep all the diseases at bay. Ensuring that your      diet contributes to all vitamins and mineral requirement is important to stay fit. Restrict your intake          of fried, processed and unhealthy foods to a minimum.

3. Keep a check on your weight: Staying in the optimal weight range reduces the risk of developing most         of the metabolic diseases. Diabetes, in the long run, is known to affect kidneys adversely. High blood         pressure directly affects the kidneys.

4. Routine check-ups should be done at regular intervals.

Protein-rich foods for weight lossIf you are on a weight loss diet, make sure you choose healthy protein sources. Beans, nuts, lean protein, low-fat dairy products, egg whites, pulses are all included in the list of healthy protein sources. Deep fried and processed meats should be avoided for weight loss. Also, the quality of carbohydrates in a high protein diet plays a very important role. Complexcarbohydrates and fibre rich foods have to be included. “However, any high protein diet should always be followed under the strict guidance of a qualified nutritionist,” concludes Neha.

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