Protein and Kidneys


I have the intention to increase my muscle mass, and for someone like me who has always been low weight (type 1, 5 years ago) it seems to be impossible without large amounts of protein. But all doctors I've consulted say that I should NOT consume extra protein because it can damage my diabetic kidneys. No supplements or extra amounts of meat, in fact they say I should not consume protein at night.

Any advice from experienced diabetic body builders ? has any of this weight lifting practices hurt your kidneys or other parts of the body ?


Higher amounts of protein is only harmful to those with pre-existing kidney issues. Eating a lot of protein does not cause kidney issues, it exacerbates pre-existing kidney issues. You can read more about this here, look for the protein section:


Thanks Ginger, I just had a Kidney ultrasound and it seems normal, I did it because my microalbuminuria looked a little high according to my endo. (however the nephrologist said it wasn't so high). I will do a new microalbuminuria and a 24 hour urine test to see how my kidneys are doing. Hopefully I will be able to start a weight gain program.


Hi Ginger, my endo told me protein was being expelled through my kidneys. My endo acted like this wasn’t a big deal and I’m a huge protein lover as it keeps blood sugar in check. I’m hoping I don’t have to cut down on the protein as I not eat around 1300-1400 calories a day right now, any suggestions would be appreciated.


Sorry to repost to a post but I’m really concerned about this, protein is my life and my A1C has lowered significantly since switching I a low carb diet. I’m at a loss right now. Thanks in advance I really appreciate it.


You can slow down kidney damage or keep it from getting worse. Controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure, taking your medicines and not eating too much protein can help. Kidney diets decrease protein. You might want to consult a dietitian. Nancy


My A1C is 6.2. I thought that was good? My blood sugars are normally near perfect? Please don’t think I’m being mean here, I’m just concerned because I’m so healthy. I never expected something like this to occur.


I also can’t live without my protein. I’m very active and weight train.


Thank you though for your response Nancy. I’m not trying to be rude I’m just highly upset. That was kind of you to respond.


I’m also on an Omnipod and work out three times a week with a very clean diet if that helps, I should have clarified that at the beginning.


Elyssia, if you weight train or drink a lot of milk that can cause protein to spill in the urine. I also had protein spill in my urine and I have been a diabetic for 34 years. My doc asked me what I was doing, and I was drinking about 8 ounces of milk with protein powder every day. She told me to stop and when I went back about 4-6 weeks, and there was no protein in my urine. Since then I have had blood panels and my kidneys are fine. If you are drinking a lot of protein powders or milk cut it down significantly and go back to your doc for a test in about a month. If you are stilling urine you should have your doc refer you to a nephrologist.


Great advice, I don’t use protein powder anymore and I also only drink almond milk and yogurt but this is good. I’m orobably going to go ahead and make that appointment, what’s frustrating is my endo after like it was no big deal.


I found that I dumped protein after exercise. I was doing weightlifting. Dietary protein should not be an issue with protein in your urine. While studies showed that patients with significant kidney problems had trouble with higher protein diets, high protein diets do not affect kidneys that are working fine.

If you have a slightly abnormal microalbumin test your doctor may just want to monitor things. If it get’s worse/continues or your eGFR drops your endo will start to worry. And remember, some people just dump some protein normally. If it worries you then you can ask your endo to refer you to a nephrologist who can give you a detailed evaluation and determine whether you have any emerging kidney problems.