Protein Reduction for Renal Failure

When kidneys fail, urea, a substance made from the breakdown of protein, builds up in the body and causes fatigue and loss of appetite. Reducing protein in the diet takes some of the stress of filtering urea from the blood off of the kidneys. Do not reduce the protein in your diet without a doctor’s recommendation.


On a reduced-protein diet, choose single-grain cereals or Danish for breakfast instead of eggs and bacon. Focus on fruit and avoid breakfast meats high in protein and sodium like ham and sausage. Create casseroles that bulk with noodles or rice instead of meat and eggs. Try using less cheese and milk in brunch casseroles.


If your doctor has advised you to eat less protein because of your kidney failure, do not eat sandwiches or soups full of meat. Instead, choose veggie sandwiches or soups with vegetables. Because chronic kidney disease diets also sometimes limit phosphorus, potassium or sodium, ask your dietitian about allowed vegetables. Use white or sourdough bread sliced thickly to add calories, since reducing your animal protein foods may also reduce your caloric intake too much. Serve vegetable soups with white rice or pasta to add calories and help fill you up.


Try your usual recipes using half the meat. Eat salads with more vegetables and fruits and less meat. Instead of making meat the main part of your dinner, prepare a pasta or rice dish with cubed or ground meat mixed in. Make fried rice with vegetables and low-sodium soy sauce with small chunks of chicken. When you choose protein as a main course, eat a smaller portion and choose low-cholesterol, low-fat proteins such as fish, soy and white meat chicken.

Kidney Disease Progression

If your kidney failure progresses despite the diet and your doctor’s treatment, you may need dialysis to help your kidneys filter your blood. Once you are on dialysis, the doctor will alter your diet. Even if you were on a low-protein diet before dialysis, the doctor will likely want you to eat more protein while on dialysis. Dialysis removes proteins, preventing urea buildup in the blood, but it also removes necessary amino acids from the blood, requiring patients to eat more proteins while on dialysis.

When kidneys fail