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Kidney Disease: Getting the Right Amount of Protein

Your body needs protein to build and repair muscles and bones. But as the body uses protein, a waste product (blood urea nitrogen or BUN) is produced. If your kidneys can’t filter wastes from your blood, the BUN level increases. If the level gets too high, you can become sick. Because of this, you need to control the amount of protein you eat each day. Use this handout to help you.

Scales with fish on one side and deck of playing cards on the other.
One portion (3 to 4 ounces) of fish, chicken,  or red meat is about the size of a deck of playing cards.

Measuring Protein Content

You know how many grams of protein to eat, but most food portions are measured in ounces. Use the chart below to help determine the protein content of some common foods.

Chicken breast

3–4 ounces

21–28 grams

Chicken thigh

2–2½ ounces

14–18 grams

Fish

3 ounces

21 grams

Pork chop

2–2½ ounces

14–18 grams

Roast beef

3 ounces

21 grams

Steak

3–4 ounces

21–28 grams

Hamburger

3–4 ounces

21–28 grams

Eggs

1 egg

7 grams

Cheese

1 ounce

7 grams

 

If You Eat Too Much Protein

Eating too much protein may cause the following:   

  • Nausea, vomiting

  • Fatigue

  • Mental confusion

  • Increased phosphorus levels

  • Increased potassium levels

  • Increased time on hemodialysis

If You Eat Too Little Protein

Eating too little protein may cause the following:

  • Muscle loss, weakness

  • Fatigue

  • Weight loss

  • Slower wound healing

 

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/15/2011
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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