A to Z Health Guide

Pasta and a Low Protein Diet

If you have early stage kidney disease, a healthcare professional may recommend a low protein diet. When you lower the amount of protein in your diet, you may also find the calories are lower. It’s especially important to get enough calories to maintain a healthy weight at this time.
 
Putting pasta in some of your soups, salads, casseroles or main dishes can help make meals more satisfying. You can use vegetables, grains and pasta as the main dish and small pieces of meat, poultry or fish as the side dish. You can also add low-protein pastas to help keep protein within limits. Find more tips on lowering protein in your diet. 

Pastas can have different nutritional content

Nowadays, pastas can come in many varieties. If you have kidney disease, it’s important to check the food label to make sure the pasta suits your nutritional needs. Certain pastas can have different nutritional content. For example, some pastas can have varying amounts of salt or sodium. They can also be made with eggs, which contain protein. The pasta’s nutritional content can also depend on the type of flour, whether it’s wheat, corn, soy or another source. Soy flour can contain higher amounts protein than corn or rice flour. If you need to restrict your intake of potassium and phosphorus, then these nutrients also need to be taken into account. Pastas that are low in protein and sodium are also available to help people with their kidney diet.

Watch out for sauces and toppings

In addition to the choice of pasta, the sauce or topping also needs to be considered. For example, many tomato sauces can contain sodium, potassium and added sugar, so be sure to read the label. In place of tomato sauce, you can also top pasta with garlic and oil.
 
You should also make sure you have the right amounts of carbohydrate and protein, and not to consume too much of either. The type and amount of carbohydrate is especially important if you also have diabetes. You should speak with a dietitian or other healthcare professional about how much protein, carbohydrate and other nutrients you should consume based on your individual nutrition needs.
 
 

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Date Reviewed: 
April 1, 2019

The information shared on our websites is information developed solely from internal experts on the subject matter, including medical advisory boards, who have developed guidelines for our patient content. This material does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. No one associated with the National Kidney Foundation will answer medical questions via e-mail. Please consult a physician for specific treatment recommendations.