Which foods contain how much protein?
You can control your protein level primarily through your diet. Basically, you can say that all animal foods (e.g. fish, meat, sausage) or animal products (cheese, eggs) contain a relatively high amount of high-quality protein. Vegetable foods such as cereals, bread, pasta or rice also contain protein. Fruits and vegetables, as well as fats and sugar on the other hand, contain little or no protein. As a vegetarian, you should therefore pay particular attention to a sufficient protein intake.
A practical indicator for people on dialysis is the phosphorus-protein quotient. This tells you how many milligrams of phosphorus per gram of protein something contains. So the lower this guideline value, despite a lot of protein, the better it is for you as a dialysis patient.
Fruit & vegetables
As described at the beginning, there is relatively little protein in fruits & vegetables. Additionally, the little protein in it cannot be processed as well as animal protein by your body.
Legumes like lentils, peas, chickpeas and beans contain relatively high amounts of protein compared to other plant foods. Be careful of the amount though, as these can contain a lot of potassium, as well as phosphate. Similarly, tofu made from soy can be a good source of protein. Again, watch the amount because of the phosphate. Mushrooms, by the way, contain little protein.
Fish, meat & sausages
Meat and fish products are basically very rich in protein. Pork leads the list with 28 g protein per 100 g. But other varieties are also rich in protein, as are a wide variety of fish.
Milk & dairy products
Animal products are also generally rich in protein. Eggs and cheese are especially good for this. In the Miku app, you will also find tips on the best types of cheese for dialysis patients based on a favourable phosphorus-protein ratio.
Potatoes, breads & cereals
There is protein in bread, pasta, rice and even potatoes. Spelt, amaranth and quinoa, for example, are particularly rich in protein. On the other hand, rice contains relatively little protein.
Peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts and hazelnuts are particularly rich in protein. However, they also contain a lot of phosphate and potassium. Therefore, you should rather not consume them in large quantities.
Sugar & fats contain little protein in principle, but you will find exceptions. Cheesecake, for example, contains relatively high protein, but can also be rich in phosphate, depending on how it is made. Always check the package information.
Be careful with sports food, such as protein powders and shakes for bodybuilders. Before you take these, you should discuss them with your nephrologist. Many of these contain additives that are dangerous for kidney patients.
Did you know…?
…that insects are particularly high in protein? While pork contains "only" 28 grams per 100 grams, crickets contain up to 70 grams per 100 grams, more than three times as much. At the same time, they contain about the same amount of phosphate as meat. Who knows, maybe cricket burgers will become the protein of the future anyway…
So what should I do in everyday life?
As you can see, it's not that easy to eat enough protein on dialysis, while balancing phosphate levels. A good rule of thumb is to prefer unprocessed products because they contain less phosphate. In the Miku app, the phosphate-protein-quotient in the food search function also helps you find foods that are beneficial for you. It marks foods and recipes with a particularly favourable (= low phosphate + high protein) ratio.
You have to remember: It's not so important in your overall diet that you avoid a number of foods. It is much more relevant that you find a diet together with your nephrologist or nutritionist that manages to keep your important values in a target corridor. The best start to get there is to eat consciously and look up unknown foods in the Miku app.
Especially animal products such as meat, fish, sausages and cheese are rich in protein and therefore important for people with renal insufficiency
Some plant products such as legumes or cereal products can also contain protein
The balance between being a simultaneously protein-rich and phosphate-poor diet is a challenge for some people on dialysis
- Healthline. 16 Foods for High Protein Meals. Website accessed on May 10th, 2021