Protein intake is important, especially when you have liver or kidney conditions. Low protein diets are required in this case, as the liver is involved in protein digestion, and kidneys help with removing the waste from this digestion. Any disease that affects the kidneys or liver will determine these organs to do extra work. Therefore, by decreasing the protein intake, you lower the pressure that is exercised on the organs.
Getting Started With a Low Protein Diet
Proteins are obtained from two sources: animal products and plants. The former are higher in protein, and hence, should be avoided when following a low protein diet. However, animal products provide complete protein, unlike plants which represent a source of incomplete protein. Both types are essential and need to be part of your diet. Proteins include 16 percent nitrogen. This substance is eliminated from the body as urea, through urine. If you have a kidney disease or various problems with your liver, urea, ammonia, and other toxins start accumulating in the blood. The goal of a low protein diet is to lower the amounts of nitrogen metabolites and to relieve the organs from extra work.
Before starting a low-protein diet, however, you need to talk to a health care provider, in order to determine the necessary amount of protein your body needs. In case this amount is very low, your doctor may also recommend taking amino acid supplements. The liver or kidney damage will help the health care provider to determine the amount of protein that would not represent a threat to your health.
What to Include In a Low-Protein Diet
The following foods should be included in your diet to assure the necessary amount of nutrients:
- Meat and meat substitutes (7 grams protein per serving)
- Milk (4 grams protein per serving)
- Starches (3 grams protein per serving)
- Vegetables (2 grams protein per serving)
- Fruits (0.5 grams protein per serving
In order to determine the servings for each category, you should consult online resources that offer nutritional facts for each food. While fats and sugar do not include any protein, the foods that contain these substances can be high in calories and low in nutrients. A diabetic diet, based on low card foods, might be appropriate, in this case. However, certain fats are healthy if consumed in moderated amounts:
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
Vegetables and whole grains should represent the main source of proteins when following such a diet. If you think about including meat and other foods that are high in protein, then you should eat these in small servings. Peanut butter, despite being a healthy food, includes 25 calories per 100 grams, so it is probably better not to consume this food too often.
Role of Proteins in Hazardous Situations
Low protein diets can postpone the need for dialysis by as much as a year. However, in this case, you may want to change several other aspects of your diet. For instance, the salt and potassium intake also needs to be kept under control. A certain balance needs to be established between your medical and nutritional needs.