Question:

Hello LA Fitness! It seems a lot of people are mentioning Chronic Kidney Disease. I hear that this can be from a number of reasons, including consuming too much protein. If you’re on a renal diet, or have kidney disease, or want to avoid getting CKD, how much protein is too much?
– Darque O.

Answer:

Whether you need to restrict protein or not should be determined by your nephrologist, depending on the stage of your renal disease. Note that the National Kidney Foundation (NKF)  states “Low protein and calorie intake is an important cause of malnutrition in chronic kidney disease1” and “There is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine prescription of dietary protein restriction to slow progression of chronic kidney disease.1

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that protein in the urine is a risk factor for developing kidney disease2. While one might assume that dietary protein load is the culprit, it’s more likely from impaired kidney filtration due to diabetes. The CDC recommends two dietary improvements: eating more fruits and vegetables while eating foods lower in salt2.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, preventing diabetes and high blood pressure helps to protect your kidneys from chronic kidney disease (CKD)3. The organization advises cutting back on salt and added sugars and suggests a DASH eating plan3. Protein is not mentioned.

References:

1) National Kidney Foundation. K/DOQI clinical practice guidelines for chronic kidney disease: evaluation, classification, and stratification. American Journal of Kidney Diseases. 2002; 39(2 suppl 1):S1–266. https://www.kidney.org/sites/default/files/docs/ckd_evaluation_classification_stratification.pdf Accessed 9.3.2019

2) Prevention and Risk Management. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/kidneydisease/prevention-risk.html December 21, 2017. Accessed 9.3.2019

3) Preventing Chronic Kidney Disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/prevention October 2016. Accessed 9.3.2019

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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