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Is it ok to eat red meat when you have kidney disease?

1. Red meat is a valuable source of essential amino acids and micronutrients for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

2. Red meat intake may lead to elevated production of uremic toxins and increased cardiovascular risk.

3. High red meat intake is associated with increased risk for progression of CKD.

4. Red meat intake should be limited in patients with CKD.


Red meat is an important dietary source of high biological value protein and micronutrients such as vitamins, iron, and zinc that exert many beneficial functions. However, high consumption of animal protein sources, especially red meat, results in an increased intake of saturated fat, cholesterol, iron, and salt, as well as an excessive acid load.

Uremic toxins are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular (CV) mortality. Limiting the intake of red meat in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) thus may be a good strategy to reduce CV risk, and may slow the progression of kidney disease.

Substitute 1 serving of total red meat and processed red meat with 1 serving of low-fat dairy, nuts, whole grains, and legumes . 


1. Bison: Believe it or not, at 145 Calories, bison is comparable to skinless chicken breast when it comes to calories, fat, and cholesterol. It's a terrific source of protein and iron, and as far as flavor goes, expect something like beef, only a little sweeter and richer.

2. Beef: The USDA defines a lean cut of beef as a 3.5-ounce serving that contains fewer than 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol.

Extra lean Beef options:

Tips when choosing cuts of beef:

3.Veal: While a little higher in cholesterol than beef, veal is a tender red meat that comes from young cattle. The leanest cuts are the sirloin, rib chop, loin chop, and top round. A three-ounce trimmed portion of a sirloin cut provides 150 calories or fewer  per serving. Avoid fattier veal cutlets and breast meat.

4.Lamb: Try cuts from the shank half of the leg (if labels aren't clear, ask the butcher). A three-ounce serving of a well-trimmed lamb shank has five or six grams of fat and 155 calories. 

5.Pork: Pork gets a pretty bad rap, but lean cuts are rich in B vitamins and protein. Pork tenderloins have 122 calories and 3 grams of fat  per three-ounce serving, while boneless chops  weigh in at fewer than 150 calories per serving.

Everything in moderation

Even if you choose extra - lean cuts of beef , dont go overboard. Eat no more than 6 ounces ( 155-160 gm ) of cooked lean meat, fish, shell fish or skinless poultry a day.


Call  us at kingwood kidney associates 281-401-9540 to schedule your appointment to learn about kidney disease diagnosis and treatment .

You can also schedule your appointment online using the booking tool on this page. Book your examination today.


Dr. Sowmya Puthalapattu Sowmya Puthalapattu, MD, or Dr. Sowmya as she’s known to patients, is an experienced board-certified nephrologist and internal medicine physician at Kingwood Kidney Associates, with offices in Kingwood and The Woodlands, Texas. Dedicated to providing her patients with comprehensive individualized care, Dr. Puthalapattu believes in the importance of active listening and having an open and creative clinical mind to provide the right care to meet her patients’ needs. She is faculty and Subspeciality education coordinator for Nephrology at IM GME program HCA Kingwood . Her areas of specialty include chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease, hyponatremia, and high blood pressure. A resident of The Woodlands, Texas, Dr. Puthalapattu spends her free time with her husband and two children. Her favorite activities include hiking and traveling.

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