Low Protein Diet

Purpose

Protein is a nutrient needed by the body for normal growth, wound healing, and the ability to fight infection. People with severe kidney or liver disease often must limit the amount of protein they eat because their bodies cannot use the protein properly. Dangerous waste products can build up in the blood from eating too much protein.

Nutrition Facts

For the healthy person, between 40-60 grams of protein are needed each day to achieve and maintain good health. This, of course, will depend on the weight and health of an individual. A person recovering from an illness or injury often needs more. It is satisfactory to eat less than this amount for a short period of time, depending on health and diet objectives. If you are instructed to begin a low protein diet, discuss with your physician the maximum amount of protein permitted. Use the following tables to calculate the amount of protein in your diet.  Please review the following menu for more nutritional information.

Special Considerations

Protein is never completely eliminated from the diet. The physician and dietitian can determine how much protein the body is able to handle. However, since the amount of protein is limited, it is important to eat foods that contain high quality protein (meat, milk, fish, poultry, eggs, and peanut butter). These proteins are complete. They contain all the essential amino acids (building blocks of protein). Even though the protein in vegetables and starches is incomplete, it is still important to include these foods in a daily meal plan for a well-balanced diet.

Salt and Sodium: Many people with serious kidney or liver disease may also need to limit salt or sodium intake because of high blood pressure or fluid retention. The greatest source of sodium in the diet is table salt. Therefore, the first step in reducing sodium intake is to limit the use of table salt. Certain other foods have high sodium content and will also need to be limited.

Sample Menu

Fats

Contains: virtually no protein, 55 mg sodium

One serving equals:

regular butter or margarine

1 tsp

mayonnaise

1 tsp

vegetable oil

1 tsp

gravy

1 Tbsp

reduced calorie margarine

1 Tbsp

reduced calorie mayonnaise

1 Tbsp

salad dressing (oil type)

2 Tbsp

low calorie salad dressing (oil type)

2 Tbsp

low calorie salad dressing (mayonnaise type)

2 Tbsp

tartar sauce

1 1/2 tsp

 

    Avoid the following if you are reducing sodium intake:

    • commercially prepared gravy
    • gravy mixes
    • bacon fat

    Remember, fats are a substantial source of calories. Some people may need additional calories and should therefore use fats freely. Those who need to lose weight should use fats sparingly. 

     

     Fruit

    One serving contains virtually no protein or sodium

    One serving equals:

    fresh, frozen, or canned fruit or fruit juice

    1/2 cup

    dried fruit

    1/4 cup

     

     Meat and Meat Substitutes

    One serving contains 7 gm protein, 25 mg sodium.

    One serving equals: 

    lean beef

    1 oz

    chicken

    1 oz

    fish

    1 oz

    lamb

    1 oz

    fresh pork

    1 oz

    low-sodium tuna

    1/4 cup

    turkey

    1 oz

    veal

    1 oz

    egg

    1

    peanut butter*

    2 Tbsp

    kidney beans

    1/4 cup dry

    soybeans

    1/2 cup

    garbanzo beans*

    1/2 cup

    lentils

    1/2 cup

    low-sodium cheese*

    1 oz

      Avoid the following if you are also reducing sodium intake:

      • bacon
      • cold cuts (bologna, salami, loaf-type luncheon meats, or processed meats)
      • corned beef
      • ham
      • sausage
      • low-salt ham or cold cuts
      • hot dogs, chicken dogs
      • turkey ham, turkey bologna
      • regular canned tuna
      • regular TV dinners (special low-sodium dinners may be acceptable -- check protein content)
      • cottage cheese
      • processed cheeses such as American, Velveeta, cheese spreads
      • canned kidney beans

      *higher in sodium

       

      Breads, Starches, Cereals, and Desserts

      One serving contains 2 gm protein, 80 mg sodium 42

      One serving equals: 

      Breads 

      white, wheat

      1 slice

      rye or pumpernickel

      1 slice

      Italian or French bread

      1 slice

      dinner roll

      1

      croissant

      1

      pita pocket

      1

      hamburger roll

      1/2

      hot dog roll

      1/2

      bagel

      1/2

      English muffin

      1/2

      biscuit

      1

      doughnut

      1

      muffin

      1

      unsalted breadsticks

      2

      Melba toast

      4 slices

      unsalted crackers

      4

      unsalted pretzels

      4

      unsalted potato chips

      15 chips

      rice cakes

      2

      Starches, cooked

      noodles, macaroni, pasta

      1/2 cup

      rice

      1/2 cup

      unsalted popcorn

      1 1/2 cups

      homemade bread filling

      1/2 cup

      potatoes

      1/2 cup or 1 medium

      pancake (homemade)

      1 medium

      Cereals

      unsalted cooked cereal (cream of wheat, cream of rice, oatmeal, Farina)

      1/2 cup

      ready-to-eat cereal*

      3/4 cup

      shredded wheat

      1 biscuit

      *may be high in sodium

      Cakes, Pastries, and Desserts

      cake

      1 piece (2 1/2" square)

      coffee cake

      1 piece

      Danish

      1 piece

      fruit pie

      1 slice (1/6 of 9" pie)

      cookies

      1 medium

      granola bars

      1

        Avoid the following if you are reducing sodium intake:

        • instant hot cereals
        • cornflakes, Rice Krispies, Total, Wheaties
        • salted snack crackers, pretzels, potato chips
        • packaged noodles, pasta, rice, or potato mixes
        • stuffing mixes
        • pancake mixes
        • baking mixes
        • croissants, rolls, biscuits made from commercially packaged refrigerator dough
        • waffles

        Special low-protein pasta, bread, crackers, cookies, and baking mixes are available. A dietitian can discuss these with you. 

         

        Vegetables

        One serving contains 1 gm protein, 15 mg sodium

        One serving equals:

        fresh, frozen, or low-salt canned vegetables

        1/2 cup

        Avoid the following if you are reducing sodium intake:

        • canned vegetables
        • sauerkraut
        • pickles
        • canned tomato juice or vegetable juice
        • canned or bottled tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce

         

        Milk Products

        One serving contains 4 gm protein, 80 mg sodium

        One serving equals:

        whole, lowfat, or skim milk

        1/2 cup

        homemade pudding

        1/2 cup

        ice milk, ice cream

        1/2 cup

        yogurt, plain or fruit flavored

        1/2 cup

        sherbet

        1 cup

        sour cream

        4 Tbsp

        cream cheese

        3 Tbsp

        light cream or half & half

        1/2 cup

        The following may be used as a milk substitute:

        One serving contains 1.0 gm protein, 40 mg sodium

        liquid non-dairy cream, polyunsaturated

        1/2 cup

        dessert, non-dairy frozen

        1/2 cup

        dessert topping, non-dairy frozen

        1/2 cup

         

        Sweets

        One serving contains virtually no protein or sodium

        One serving equals:

        hard candy

        4 pieces

        gum drops

        15 small

        Gummi Bears

        1 small pouch

        jelly beans

        10

        lollipops

        2

        marshmallows

        5 large

        butter mints

        14

        water ice

        1/2 cup

        popsicle

        3 oz = 1 bar

        gelatin

        1/2 cup

        sugar (brown or white)

        2 Tbsp

        honey

        2 Tbsp

        jelly, jam, marmalade

        2 Tbsp

        Remember, sweets are a source of calories. Some people may need additional calories and should therefore use sweets freely. Those who need to lose weight should use sweets sparingly.

         

        Beverages

        One serving contains virtually no protein, <50 mg sodium

        coffee

        fruit juices or fruit drinks

        tea

        lemonade

        soft drinks

        mineral water

        Avoid milk-based beverages unless counted as part of milk allowance.

        Low-Protein Shake Recipe:

        marshmallows

        4 oz

        fruit ice or Italian ice

        4 oz

        corn syrup

        1/4 cup

        vegetable oil

        1 Tbsp

        vanilla ice cream

        1/2 cup

        Place all ingredients in a blender and mix thoroughly.

        600 calories - 2.5 gm protein - 170 mg sodium

         

        Condiments

        Recommend:

        • Pepper
        • fresh or dried herbs
        • flavored powders (garlic, onion, etc.)
        • lemon juice
        • vinegar

        Avoid:

        • bacon bits
        • barbecue sauce
        • chili sauce
        • cooking wine
        • ketchup
        • meat tenderizers
        • monosodium glutamate
        • prepared mustard
        • regular salad dressings
        • seasoned salt (e.g., celery salt, garlic salt, onion salt)
        • sea salt
        • soy sauce
        • steak sauce
        • tartar sauce

         

        Special Low-Protein Products

        The following product is low in protein, electrolytes, and fluid, it can be ordered by calling Ross Laboratories at 1-800-986-8502.

        • SUPLENA

        The following low-protein products can be ordered by calling Dietary Specialties at (888) 640-2800. or email: [email protected]

        • Low-Protein Bread
        • Low-Protein Crackers & Rusks
        • Low-Protein Cookies
        • Low-Protein Pasta
        • Low-Protein Baking Mix
        • Low-Protein Wheat Starch
        • Low-Protein Gelatin
        • Low-Protein Cracker Toast
        • Low-Protein Cheese Sauce Mix

         

        Sample Menu Low Protein

        Breakfast

        Lunch

        Dinner

        • Cheerios cereal 3/4 cup
        • non-dairy creamer 1/2 cup
        • orange juice 1/2 cup
        • banana 1/2 med
        • white bread 2 slices
        • turkey breast 1 oz
        • lettuce
        • tomato 1/2 cup
        • green beans 1/2 cup
        • mayonnaise 3 tsp
        • apple 1 med
        • fruit punch 4 oz
        • lean hamburger 2 oz
        • white rice 1/2 cup
        • broccoli 1/4 cup
        • cauliflower 1/4 cup
        • tossed salad
        • ranch dressing 2 Tbsp
        • pineapple 1/2 cup

         

        Snack

        Snack

        Snack

        • cherry fruit roll up 1
        • popsicle 1
        • gum drops 1 oz

        This Sample Diet Provides the Following

        Calories

        1476

        Fat

        48 gm

        Protein

        39 gm

        Sodium

        1270 mg

        Carbohydrates

        237 gm

        Potassium

        2282 mg

         

        Download this page as a PDF by clicking here.

        This material does not cover all information and is not intended as a substitute for professional care. Please consult with your physician on any matters regarding your health.

        © Copyright Chek Med Systems®, Inc., All Rights Reserved.