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Learning About Chronic Kidney Disease and Protein

What is protein?

Protein is an important nutrient made up of chemicals called amino acids. Protein provides energy. Your body also needs protein to make new cells, maintain and rebuild muscles, carry other nutrients, act as messengers in the body, and support the immune system.

How does protein in your diet affect chronic kidney disease?

When protein breaks down in your body, it forms waste products. If you have kidney disease, the kidneys have trouble getting rid of waste products, so waste can build up in your blood.

Eating more protein than your body can handle can be bad for your kidneys and make you very sick. But if you don't get enough protein, you can become weak and tired and are more likely to get infections.

If you have chronic kidney disease, you can help protect your kidneys by making changes to your diet so that you get the right amount of protein.

How can you get the right amount of protein in your diet?

Ask your doctor or dietitian how much protein you can have each day, and learn which foods contain protein.

Your doctor or dietitian can help you plan a diet that gives you the right amount of protein. There is no single diet that is right for everyone who has chronic kidney disease. Your diet will be based on how well your kidneys are working and whether you are on dialysis.

When you have kidney disease, your diet may change over time as your disease changes. See your doctor for regular testing so you know when your diet may need to change. Your doctor or dietitian can help you adjust your diet as needed.

Changing your diet can be hard. You may have to give up many foods you like. But it is very important to make the recommended changes so you can stay healthy for as long as possible.

Which foods contain protein?

High-protein foods include meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. Other foods that contain protein include milk and milk products, beans and nuts, vegetables, and breads, pastas, and cereals.

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