Diets for Kidneys That Are Leaking Protein

High urine protein, also called proteinuria, is a red flag for chronic kidney disease. Often this goes on for years, until picked up during a routine physical or life insurance exam. In some instances, it can be controlled by diet. However, before you swear off meat and high protein foods, consult your nephrologist to see if dietary changes are really needed.

Healthy Kidneys

The glomeruli, or filters of healthy kidneys, clean over 200 gallons of blood a day. Waste products from muscular activity, such as creatinine and urea, are removed from the blood and filtered into the urine. Proteins, however, remain in the blood. Inflamed kidneys are less able to perform this function. For reasons that remain unclear, proteins pass through the inflamed glomeruli into the urine.

Protein Restriction

Nephrologists try to control severe proteinuria because it can damage the kidneys independently from any underlying disease and accelerate the progression of kidney disease. Most people consume far more protein than they actually need. The National Kidney Foundation guidelines suggest that patients with stage 1 through stage 4 kidney disease limit their daily protein intake to 0.8 g per kilogram body weight. This is identical to the protein requirement set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Recommended Protein Intake

The National Kidney Foundation guideline means that a 120 lb. person should consume 44 g of protein per day. A 140 lb. person should consume 51 g of protein per day. A 160 lb. person needs 58 g of protein. Protein can easily creep into your diet without you being aware of it. For example, two slices of wheat bread have 5.46 g of protein.


Nephrologists do not recommend low protein diets for everyone. For example, they are never recommended for children, patients on hemodialysis or patients approaching transplant. Moreover, newly diagnosed patients are often so enthusiastic about dietary changes, they often take matters to extremes and do not get enough protein. Before embarking on a low-protein diet, consult your nephrologist about how much protein you should consume.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.