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How Much Protein Should I Eat on a CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) Diet?

A diet high in plant-based proteins and low in protein can help maintain renal function in those with chronic kidney disease.

You might need to adjust your diet if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD) to maintain your kidneys.

Modifications to the diet may assist in slowing the course of CKD. The various phases of kidney disease are determined by how well your kidneys function.

Reducing your protein intake is one strategy to safeguard your kidneys. One of your kidneys' many functions is blood filtration. Certain waste products from the digestion of proteins wind up in your blood.

Your kidneys usually remove all of those waste materials. However, your kidneys struggle to keep up and don't filter as well if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Waste products from ingesting more protein than your kidneys can process can accumulate in your blood.

Find out more about the best protein sources, how much protein to eat, and protein with chronic kidney disease.


Protein and kidney function

One nutrient present in a variety of diets is protein.
  • seafood
  • beans
  • meats
  • poultry
  • fish
  • nuts and seeds
  • dairy products
  • eggs
Protein is used by the body as fuel. Additionally, protein is necessary for hormone production as well as the growth and repair of all body muscles.

You must consume enough protein to meet your body's demands even if your kidneys are no longer able to filter waste products from protein.

Eating might be quite difficult for many CKD patients who are juggling different dietary needs. Everybody with renal illness cannot follow the same diet. The optimal eating plan for you will be determined by your general health and renal function.


Protein intake without dialysis

Eating less protein can protect your kidneys and decrease the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) if you are not receiving dialysis. Overconsumption of protein might strain your kidneys further.

Based on your body weight, you require a certain amount of protein. A diet with 0.6 to 0.8 grammes of protein per kilogramme of body weight (g/kg) per day is commonly referred to as low protein. Consuming that much protein will satisfy your body's requirements without going over what your kidneys can manage.

The precise nature of the aim is still up for discussion. According to some research, 0.55 to 0.6 g/kg should be included in a low-protein diet each day.

Even while this amount might be less taxing on your kidneys, you might feel constrained and find it more difficult to get all the nutrients you need. Malnutrition risk could rise as a result.

The ideal aim for you can be discussed with your healthcare team. You must get strong support from your medical staff.

Collaborate with a certified dietitian with expertise in renal health, if possible. They can give you greater self-assurance when making dietary decisions.


Protein intake with dialysis

Dialysis patients' needs for protein rise since they can no longer rely on their kidneys to filter waste materials out of their blood.

A portion of protein is lost during dialysis; therefore, you must consume additional food to compensate. Additionally, because your body expends more energy while receiving dialysis, you have higher protein requirements.

A daily intake of 1.2 to 1.3 g/kg of protein is advised. Individuals undergoing dialysis may experience worse outcomes if their protein consumption falls outside or beyond this recommended range.


Knowing the right amount of protein for you

The daily required amount of protein is stated as a range. Your medical team may take a variety of factors into account when estimating your protein requirements, such as:
  • whether you’re on dialysis
  • your age
  • any additional medical issues you may have
  • anything more you need or restrict in terms of diet
  • your stage of kidney disease
  • your body weight
You can get assistance with this from a dietician who specialises in renal health. There may seem to be a lot to learn, and it's acceptable to require a lot of assistance while doing so.


The type of protein you eat matters

Apart from the total quantity of protein consumed, the kind of protein you consume is also important. Protein can be obtained from plants as well as animals.

Among the protein sources derived from animals are:
  • fish and seafood
  • dairy products
  • eggs
  • beef, pork, and other meats
  • chicken and turkey
Plant-based protein sources include:
  • nuts and seeds
  • some vegetables and grains
  • beans, lentils, and soy products
Increased plant-based protein intake may be able to decrease the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to growing research. In addition to protecting your kidneys, this eating pattern can help control illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure. According to some studies, plant-based foods should account for at least 50% of your daily protein consumption.

The potassium problem is one obstacle to consuming more plant-based diets. A lot of CKD patients have elevated potassium levels. Potassium is present in many fruits, vegetables, and cereals, and is generally advised by medical practitioners to persons with CKD to consume less of it.

The impact of dietary potassium on plasma potassium levels is a topic of discussion. For instance, a review of research published in 2023 indicates that increased blood potassium levels aren't necessarily the result of eating extra potassium.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can also help control diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as improve heart health in individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

If you've been advised to consume less phosphorus, a low-protein, plant-based diet may also be helpful. Phosphorus is also present in many protein sources.

Lowering your phosphorus intake can be achieved by eating less protein. The fact that phosphorus from plant sources doesn't have the same blood level effects as phosphorus from animal meals is another advantage of eating a diet higher in plant foods.



Takeaway

Protein is a crucial component for both energy production and the maintenance of muscles throughout the body.

Eating too much protein might be detrimental to your kidneys if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD). A diet low in protein is frequently advised.

It is better for your health, according to research, to acquire more protein from plant-based diets than from animal-based ones. If at all feasible, find out how much protein you should be consuming daily by speaking with a dietician who specialises in kidney health.

It can be difficult to follow a diet for CKD, and you should have the assistance you require.

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