Which Type of Protein is Better for Our Kidneys?

Which Type of Protein is Better for Our Kidneys?

“Which Type of Protein is
Better for Our Kidneys?” Between 1990 and 2010
some of our leading causes of death and disability
haven’t changed. Heart disease was the
leading cause of loss of life and health then and remains
the leading cause today. Some things got better,
like HIV/AIDS, but others got worse, like
chronic kidney disease, a doubling in the tens
of thousands of deaths and the hundreds of thousands
whose kidneys fail completely, requiring kidney transplants or
lifelong dialysis. And about one in eight of us now have chronic kidney
disease whether we know it or not. And most of those with
kidney disease don’t know it. About three-quarters of the millions
affected are unaware their kidneys are starting to fail, which is
particularly worrisome given that early identification
provides an opportunity to slow the progression and alter
the course of disease. So what can we do about it? The Western-style diet is
a major risk factor for impaired kidney function
and chronic kidney disease, also known as the meat-sweet
diet, or standard American diet, causing an impairment of
kidney blood flow, inflammation, and subsequent leakage
of protein in the urine, and a rapid decrease in kidney
function. Table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup is associated
with increased blood pressure and uric acid levels that
can both damage the kidney. And saturated fat, trans
fat, and cholesterol found in animal fat and junk food negatively
impact kidney function as well. The consumption of animal fat can
actually alter the structure of the kidney. And the animal protein can
deliver an acid load to the kidneys, increase ammonia production,
and damage the sensitive kidney cells. That’s why restricting protein intake
is recommended for preventing kidney function decline, though it
may be animal protein in particular, not just protein in general. So the source of the protein, plant
versus animal, may be more important than the amount regarding
adverse health consequences. Animal protein intake
has a profound effect on normal human kidney function,
inducing what’s called hyperfiltration, increasing the workload
of the kidney. This may help explain why
our kidneys fail so often. Unlimited intake of protein-rich foods,
now generally regarded as “normal,” may be responsible for dramatic
differences in kidney function between modern human beings
and their remote predecessors who hunted and scavenged
for meat here and there. Sustained rather than
intermittent excesses of protein requires us to call on our
kidney reserves continuously, causing a kind of unrelenting
stress on our kidneys that can predispose
even healthy people to progressive kidney scarring
and deterioration of kidney function. It’s like always revving
our engine into the red. On the other hand, administration of
an equal quantity of vegetable protein does not appear to have the same
effects. Eating meat, for example, increases the workload on the kidneys
within hours of consumption, but, apparently, taking care of plant
protein appears to be a cinch. This was done with beef, but
any animal protein will do. Eat a meal of tuna fish, and you
can see the increased pressure on the kidneys go up again within
just hours, for both non-diabetics with normal kidneys, and
diabetics with normal kidneys. If instead of having a tuna salad
sandwich you had a tofu salad sandwich with the same amount
of protein, no effect. And same thing happens
with eggs and dairy protein, both in people with normal
and diseased kidneys. Short-term studies have indicated
that substituting plant proteins like soy for animal protein is
associated with less hyperfiltration and protein leakage, therefore slowing
deterioration of kidney function. However, the long-term effect
has not been adequately studied until this study was
published in 2014. A 6-month double-blind, randomized,
placebo-controlled trial, soy versus dairy protein, and
the consumption of whole soy tended to preserve renal function,
kidney function, compared with milk in individuals with
lowered renal function. Similar results were
reported in diabetics. Even just giving isolated soy protein
appeared to make things better, compared to dairy protein,
which made things worse. Once one’s kidneys have deteriorated
to the point where they’re actively losing protein in the urine,
a plant-based diet may help turn it off and on
like a light switch. Here’s protein leakage on
a standard low sodium diet, switched to a supplemented
vegan diet, low sodium, vegan, low sodium, vegan. What is going on? Why does animal protein cause that
overload reaction, but not plant protein? It appears to be an inflammatory response
triggered by the animal protein. We know this because administration
of a powerful anti-inflammatory drug abolishes the hyperfiltration, protein
leakage response to meat ingestion. Here’s the typical kidney stress
response to a meat meal, but here’s with the anti-inflammatory
drug on board, confirming the role of inflammation in the impact
of animal protein on our kidneys.



  • Logan Dowell

    so the lesson here is, be sure to take that anti-inflammatory drug when eating your animal protein!

  • Dwight E Howell

    When red meat is broken down by one kind of bacteria in the digestive system it produces a chemical that causes an inflammatory response. Oddly this bacteria pretty much starves to death in the digestive system of vegans. It also doesn't seem to do much of anything harmful with fish and fowl.

    Body chemistry is complex. Saying something wrong is easy.

  • Opera Singer

    I'm going to skip on Big Mac's for lunch.

  • Golan Remmen

    The doc's final comment is unwarranted from the evidence he referred to.  That is, the anti-inflammatory effect of the med given was effective against inflammation caused by the meat, not "animal protein" in general.  I'd like to see the same criteria actually applied to a dairy and an egg meal.  Whatever we can know about causes of inflammation is extremely important.

  • fred

    You just need proper vegetables with your protein and not to much red meat and you'll be fine this is dr. dumb-dumb signing out.

  • Shane Creamer

    For those times when I do want to eat an occasional meal with Chicken, or a treat like Soy or Coconut ice cream (the video also states that sugar causes stress on the kidneys as well), does the suggest that consuming anti-oxidants with my meal can help blunt the effects of meat protein or sugar treats and their effects on the kidneys. 

    I was thinking of Dr. Greger's video of Apples and how it can have 1,500 times the anti-oxidant power vs. a Vitamin C supplement alone.  So – I think if I do have a chicken meal I will consume fruits with the meal in addition to my usual intake of veggies.   

    Testimony to Plant Power.
    I was a life long 4-5 meals a day meat eater (as in 90-150 grams a day of protein as a weight lifter – I am now 47 years old) until last year when I went largely vegetarian based on my kidneys starting to deteriorate due to protein leakage, and the best news is that after 12 months my latest kidney reports came back and my functional medicine doctor said they now look amazing now.  Go Plant Power!  🙂

  • VOLightPortal

    What about Cauldron Sausages? It's vegetarian right? Is it as good as eating tofu? Or would that create a similar response as a meat diet and add to the onset of kidney disease?

  • UniversalJamarr

    thanks ive been back and fourth from vegan and meat and every time i eat meat and dairy as you said my kidneys start to feel progressively worst over the hours. This information is motivation to really stick with my plant based diet because no matter what friends and family are doing my health comes first thanks alot sir!

  • Sonja Gartner

    so much talking and so little said…. why not get to the point – quickly!

  • Soledad Rios

    Was hoping to find out more about different protein choices since I can't have soy. Which vegetables are best? Thank you!

  • Fred Savage

    I've seen so how many of Dr. Greger's videos now (some with vague/contradictory evidence) but I'd really love more than anything to see what the Doctor eats (I did hear him mention a morning smoothy once) in a day/week.

  • Russtafaerian

    My first ever YouTube comment – this is THE most useful video and info I have ever found. As someone interested in muscle development and having done some research, I was confused about muscle and health contradictory information and this really answered my question – I am going vegan. Thank you very very much for this info Dr. Greger.

  • derrik tie

    cough cough bullshit…meter running high..

  • Stacy Urban

    When I stopped eating meat and dairy I stopped having to pee every two hours around the clock!

  • LefkiosG

    so creatine in small quantities, say 5g a day would be safe as it is not derived from animal products? Or harmful? Anyone know anything on this?

  • Gra Piken

    Quite sobering. It would be helpful to have links to a site that offers recipe ideas so that people can feel positively motivated to change their diet instead of just feeling frightened.

    I think about all my friends who eat tons of meat all the time. It's quite sad.

  • max roger

    Those people know their kidneys are failing when they see dark urine.

  • Gay C Byington HiLL, Psy NP

    Love to hear the science!

  • June ribaldi

    Organic Plant base for energy and longevity

  • lightdark00

    Since inflammation is being caused, why must it be the protein causing it? Why not a buildup of chemicals in the meat?

  • R D

    would you say coconut sugar will give kidney failure ?

  • UrbanExplorer1000

    Soy is one of the worst things you can put into your body

  • J the Vegan

    You're awesome!

  • Howard Johnson

    Ah, please pass me another big helping of pine needles and sawdust.


  • Rijwan Khan

    this too much protein fact actually propagated by meat and protein powder industry.. your need completely goes fulfilled by lentils and beans

  • Steve

    so basically you cant have a nice looking body if you dont wanna die 5 yrs earlier?

  • Amin A Talahmeh

    Nice Video clip! Forgive me for the intrusion, I am interested in your opinion. Have you thought about – Chireetler Avoiding Diseases Rule (probably on Google)? It is a great one of a kind product for learning how to stop kidney damage without the normal expense. Ive heard some incredible things about it and my friend Sam got astronomical results with it.

  • Christos Segkounas

    Except,as is usally the case, it's all blown out of proportion.
    People didn't go on a high meat and dairy diet just recently.
    We know modern people have become fat and diabetic from eating too much fat and pastries but kidney failure in normal weight people eating a lot of meat and dairy?
    Exaggerate much?
    Vegan propaganda ain't no different to meat industry propaganda, you are all full of shit.

  • Enigma Cipher

    Or maybe just maybe it is the 22 man made toxic chemicals commonly found in factory farmed meats that is causing the inflammatory response, many of them are known to cause such a reaction. Sounds crazy but if I eat factory farmed pork I can feel the inflammation begin to numb my right hand (pinched radial and CT nerves), yet I have never gotten such a response from wild pork. This is the problem with such vegan studies, they are always comparing crap meats which many of us avoid anyway.

  • Rabih Richa

    every one here should give "the china study" a read

  • Laurie Paris

    Why isn't this information front page news? I only wish I'd known this information years ago. Thank you, Dr G!🌱

  • The Artificial Society

    Too much plant protein is probably not good either. Anything in excess causes issues. If one's kidneys are unhealthy, then eat very low protein low fat diet. That is more rice and potatoes and some fruit rather than the higher plant protein foods.

  • Nelson Vega

    soy equals death. stay away from it. Oh wait….. check your typical grocery products ingredients lables. It seems soy is in virtually everything. Yeah its bad, do the research.

  • YapYap The Destroyer

    Brought to you by the billion dollar bean industry.

  • Jacob Schadler

    I thought soy protein was worse than whey

  • Mike Morgan

    Very good info!

  • Mark Fagan

    Not sure there is enough evidence that plant protein is better than meat protein when supplimented with enough fibre.
    I still wouldn't recommend eating any soy beans apart from organic fermented products.

  • johan teope

    Good day Sir. I have been following your advice specially on the microgreens and have been growing and consuming those that I have planted the past 2 weeks. I have been slowly adjusting my diet to lessen carb intake and animal protein intake. I am slowly shifting my protein intake towards beans but would like to clarify if taking beans such as commercial baked beans with tomato sauce is okay? Also, in my lab tests, my uric acid is always on the high side of the range or a bit over. Should I observe certain restrictions with shifting to beans for my protein source? Thank you.

  • Chelsie Patnode

    i was put on a low sodium. low protein diet when i was 7 after experiencing AKD. a nutritionists told me i should never eat more than 40g of protein per day and consume as little salt as possible per day but never go over 2000mg. she also told me that i wasnt to count any protein or salt from fresh produce as part of my daily limit as the contribution from those sources didnt matter the same. it is now 22 years post infection for me and i have had zero complications from my kidneys since. i only have to take 1 bp pill per day because of irreversible scar tisse in my kidneys from the infection.

  • Reinaldo Aponte

    Don't argue with Doctor Greger, Sir!

  • Five Dee

    Oh man! This was a lot of intriguing information. I just paid $45 for Dr. Axe Bone Broth with numeric to increase my protein to use as meal replacement since I dont each much meat…or have many meals in general. Seems like I must rethink my strategy.

  • Corz Illa

    what do you do if they constantly make you fart!!!

  • Raw Viking

    Incidentally, carnivores and omnivores produce absolutely enormous amounts of vit. C in their bodies and I guess this helps them lowering inflammation and dealing with the animal proteins too.
    I'm pretty sure all herbivores, folivores and frugivores (like humans) do not produce any vit. C but are forced to add it through diet.

  • lionofgod9


  • paintur68

    The most insufferable voice on YouTube…..

  • Jaded K

    So, would the intake of human milk (i.e., diary) by babies harm their kidneys? Maybe we should ban breastfeeding altogether?

  • thespanish21god

    Muy interesante!

  • stiv joz

    The SOYBEAN PLANT has been Genetically Modified. Now over 90% of the crop is GMO.

  • Matt Bayley


  • red zone

    basicly eat like a goat,  no thanks I'm human so I am an omnivore so my diet is varied how it should be.

    but thanks for your time anyway

  • inculoasorata

    What about Pea Protein Powder?

  • Riv Char

    I don't know why nobody is doing cohort studies with bodybuilders to see if the high protein (meat) deat is leading to increased risk for CKD..

  • Riv Char

    This doc is a boss

  • Bob Peterson

    All the information our doctors are not telling us.

  • Jeremy Garrett

    This is assuming all meat and dairy are the same, especially as pertains to fats, and not considering hormones, health, and antibiotics. Also, it assumes some inflammation is bad, and in balance to benefits, and couldn't be a reasonable reaction for the body if not abused, without any significant negative consequences. To make broad statements without considering sources, amounts, and overall diet is kind of reckless. Many recent cultures (within the last few hundred years) studied in Nutrition and physical degeneration by Weston A. Price, that ate a balanced diet, but with more than random access to meat were quite healthy living to advanced ages with clear physical and mental abilities above the average person today.

  • Moncef Ar

    Vegan Gains Should watch this

  • Alexandra C

    I wonder about the quality of the protein that people consume as well. I know this is about humans, but I wonder b/c of the increase in cats developing kidney disease since the advent of commercial pet food vs cats catching and eating mice and insects. Cats unlike humans require flesh to thrive, but i feel that the quality of the flesh many feed their cats harms them later in life.

  • Alleyway Mind Hook

    Kurzweil could use this kind of advice

  • Marco

    huge salads with many different veggies and lot of potatoes and beans beans beans! I could eat that forever, very yummy and a load of proteins very easy to digest, keeps you light but nourished for workouts 🙂

  • Franklin Taylor

    I come from a small area with not that many people. Three of the males I grew up with/around died from kidney disease/failure related to methamphetamine abuse induced Lupus. Not likely to be from genetics for all three since all three were not blood related (it's a rarer disease) . America's methamphetamine abuse epidemic has to be raising the death rate as well.

  • jose juan de leon

    You are biased, you want to destroy an industry so you become famous.

  • Marilyn

    Soy is not fit for human consumption…you should know this!

  • Hulagu Kahn

    Amen; nice to know I don't have to give meat all together, but to saved it for special occasions.

  • Hulagu Kahn

    Not the crappy GMO soy…

  • johnny102marvin

    Meat eaters come down with chronic kidney disease. People that start a whole plant food diet while they are still healthy do not develop chronic kidney disease. Case Closed.

  • Paul Zeus

    glad to be vegan

  • sifujiefu 62

    Can anyone clarify egg protein? Good or bad???

  • Recco Con

    That's why most have 2 kidneys, 1 for meat based and 1 for plant based protein. Best of both worlds.

  • Michael Parish

    When you isolate protein sources and consume them separately the differences show up. Meat is a complete protein since it contains all the amino acids IN THE CORRECT BALANCE necessary to form tissue. Plant protein does not. That's why plants have to eaten in combination in order to get the BALANCE necessary to form tissue. As pointed out by vegan doctors a mixed plant diet works just as well as stand alone meat to form tissue. And as Dr. Campbell found out feeding a mixed plant protein diet to animals caused just as much cancer as Casein. It was only when he fed wheat protein exclusively in isolation to his rats that it didn't effect cancer. So, plant and animal protein has the same positive effects and the same negative effects. The key is not to get too much protein regardless of the source.

  • Whole Food Plant-Based Man

    At some point in our lives, I bet most of us have been asked the very stupid and annoying question, "where do you get your protein from?" Everybody who asks that question deserves bullets in their heads. I have wanted to do terrible things to people who have asked me that question.

  • beo wulf

    again with the soy/tofu … #1 GMO crop!

  • Johny40Se7en

    Best protein for the kidneys has got to be red kidney beans =P

  • Damjan K

    plant proteins do not absorb so good, so it is expected

  • For all

    Awesome… Thanks

  • Judah Christian Church, Inc.

    🎬 1 📹 🎞 🗣 🎙⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Outstanding thank you for sharing❗️🥛🥩🥩🥩🥚🍗🍔🍤🍳…🦃🐓🐐🐑🐏🐄🐠🐟 Plant Wins for kidney…protein low sodium

  • Scuba Diva

    I know a woman who was diagnosed with lupus a few years ago, and she acknowledges that a vegan diet is the gold standard—and she'd be a vegan if only it were easier. Kind of like the woman I know who says she can't be a vegan because she lives in Flushing, Queens. I can't even. [facepalm]

  • ColdCutz

    I feel like Neo in the Matrix with every one of these videos:. "WOAH….."

  • Abdullah Filistini

    What was the type of meat used in these studies? I bet it wasn't grass fed and organic.

  • Abhay Bhatt

    In one video, he says that green smoothies are good, in another he says yogurt is bad. In this video he says milk is bad, in another he says oats are good, then how am I supposed to take oats?! Oats ARE taken with milk, aren't they?

  • Akshaya Sahoo



    Non…of this matters if you drink water. Smh…dehydration is the number one cause of kidney failure

  • Stormy

    Can you make a video about pea isolated protein?

  • Roadkilla

    I am the beast , feed me rappers or feed me beets

  • 48petey

    Stop freaking out people meats ok in moderation a dietician told me your plate should had meat the size of a sardine can 3 vegetables (u can eat as much as u want) and a starch(beans) drink water. Then desert (nuts) keep sodium and sugar down exercise walk 2-3 miles you should be fine some days you should go vegan like a salad with a avocado maybe fruit as a desert blueberries strawberries bananas always consume some nuts about a handful or two that's it or put them in your salad I say ones you get your weight blood sugar cholesterol blood pressure in normal range enjoy the pleasure once in a while lets say once a month like a 1/2 milk shake w / burger w tomato and avocado wrapped in lettuce w mushrooms and half the cheese Habit is a good one no fries not MacDonald a quality 🍔 milkshake or a burrito with very little cheese beans( black kidney pinto or garbanzo) lettuce no dressing except olive oil vinergaret with no sugar salt remember what doc say need to eat meal with beans nuts lettuce something to keep insulin spikes down
    Life doesn't have to be boring and dull

  • Gert-Jan

    Just imagine doing dialyses for 4 hours everyday, year after year.

  • Dawn Faialaga

    Wow that’s why people are so sick on the Keto diet . Glad I’m vegan 🌱

  • EpicWarframeNinjaPvP


  • Jordan Carter

    How can this be? Isn't death from heart disease only a relatively modern phenomenon? I'm pretty sure our grand parents and great grand parents would still have eaten meat on a daily basis. Could it be that rather than the meat itself, it's all the hormones and grain-fed diets they use on the animals that are causing the inflammatory reaction?

    I used to have more access to game meat, and I felt a lot better back then than I do now. I've been eating Walmart meats and can feel the inflammation. Is it just a coincidence? I'm not so sure.

  • potrebitel3

    Low back pain? #5!?

  • TwinMillMC

    Conclusion: Take supplements that reduce inflammation if you are a meat eater.

  • Rapa_Pham

    How about those patient with high uric acid at the same time?..
    Beans and legumes have moderate purine content
    However red meat are not..
    Thus pork is the choice to be given to them..

    Is there new research to defend that benefit of legumes and bean and other veg. In relation to purine content and it's effect to uric acid ?

  • Catalin Popescu

    What about collagen protein?

  • Johny Relax

    yeah,but the common argument i hear is that plants dont have all the necesary amino acids,is that right or wrong?

  • justgivemethetruth

    indomethacin – used to treat arthritis and gout, abolishes the inflammatory response.

    So what is the downside of taking this drug?

  • Christina H.

    nobody should eat "unlimited intake of protein". This seems common sense to not eat non stop meat meals multiple times a day.

  • webheadzzz

    What about nac supplement???

  • ツA 1

    The native american's had all the meat they could ever want.
    They followed the heard.
    Heart disease was unheard of.
    EXCUSE ME AGAIN! Some native Alaskan tribes live solely off fish and heart disease is unheard of…
    EXCUSE ME AGAIN! Some native African tribes live solely off meat and heart disease is unheard of…

  • Daniel Jones

    Presumably protein from kidney beans?


    NutritionFacts.org + Glyphosate, & RoundUp bypasses the liver and attacks the Kidneys. Extreme evidence of this occured in India in which 1 – 2 farms where a substantial amount of the workers died from RoundUp – Glyphosate by passing the liver and attacking their Kidneys.

  • A UserName

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12612170, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17383270

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