Kidney Disease and a Low Protein Diet

Apples to Zucchini Will Help You Manage a Low Protein Diet

Questions and Feedback

Which Foods Are High In Protein?

Apples to Zucchini  includes a large variety of fruits and vegetables – foods that are naturally low in calories and protein. Meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, cheese, nuts, and legumes all contain concentrated sources of protein and never appear in the recipes of the cookbook.

However, if you have read Dr. Walser’s groundbreaking book Coping with Kidney Disease: A 12-Step Treatment Program to Help You Avoid Dialysis, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2004), you might be confused by the tables on pages 62 to 65 titled, Foods Containing Significant but Acceptable Amounts of Protein and Foods to be Avoided. In fact, we use many of the foods that Dr. Walser includes on his Foods to be Avoided List.

Here’s a brief explanation of why these low protein/low calorie vegetables appear in our recipes. It will help you understand why these vegetables can be and should be a part of your low protein diet.

While the tables show the amount of protein in 100 calories of food, the volume of food that makes up these 100 calories can differ greatly. For example, 100 calories of celery and 100 calories of whole milk both have about 5 grams of protein. But 100 calories of milk is only five ounces (a little more than 1/2 cup), while 100 calories of celery is 5 cups!

Celery is not concentrated in protein like milk and for the same volume of food, milk has 10 times more protein than celery. That is, a 1/2 cup serving of celery contains only 0.5 gm protein, but a 1/2 cup serving of milk contains 5 gm.

Using only calories as the comparison might lead one to believe that celery is high in protein, but most people don’t eat 5 cups of celery while they can easily drink 1/2 cup of milk. The key is controlling your total protein intake, and in many cases this means controlling the volume of foods you eat.

Dr. Walser’s emphasis on calories is good for a low protein diet, because with a very low protein diet getting enough calories can be a challenge. If you, your nutritionist or doctor are concerned about getting enough calories, you can still use low-calorie vegetables but use them in combination with other foods and ingredients to make your meals higher in calories, as required for your individual needs. For example, in our recipes we make extensive use of low protein pasta and low protein bread to add calories and to make more satisfying dishes.

For determining which foods are lower in protein, it is probably most helpful to look at a list of low protein foods with their calorie content listed separately, rather than only looking at a ratio of protein to calories. For such a list of low protein foods, please see the Low Protein Food List for PKU (order by calling Nutricia North America at 877-482-7845).

Are You Ready to Embark on a Low Protein Cooking Adventure?

If the answer is yes, then Apples to Zucchini is the cookbook for you!