Fact sheetDiet specifications

Published on 1 Nov 2011

Protein diet - controlled - 20g

This document is part of the ACI Diet Specifications for Adult Inpatients. It is not to be used for patient education.


To limit protein intake to 20g per day.


At least half the protein should be from foods with high biological value (such as meat, eggs and dairy), with grains, vegetables and fruit providing the rest.


Metabolic disorders (e.g. maple syrup urine disease).

Nutritional adequacy

This diet is not nutritionally adequate in protein and is likely to be inadequate in thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron and calcium. Protein restriction may lead to inadequate energy intake.


Must only be used when ordered by a physician and under the supervision of a dietitian.


Suitable for use in paediatrics when combined with an age-appropriate diet.

Suggested meal structure

  • Breakfast: <5g
  • Morning tea: <2g
  • Lunch: <5g
  • Afternoon tea: <2g
  • Dinner: <5g
  • Supper: <5g

Main hot dish, or salad or sandwich – limit to one meal only per day

Specific menu planning guidelines

 Allowed Not allowed
Hot main dishes<5g protein per serve (i.e. normally a special low-protein dish) -
Sauces, graviesAll (at 30g serve) -
Starchy vegetables / pasta / rice

All starchy vegetables

Low-protein pasta


VegetablesAll -
SoupsAll <2g protein per serve -
SandwichesAll <5g protein per serve -
Salads, dressingsAll <5g protein per serve -
Breads, cerealsAll -
SpreadsAll -
Hot breakfast choicesNone -
FruitAll fruit -
YoghurtYoghurt <3g protein per serve -
DessertsAll <3g protein per serve -
Milk and cheese

Whole or skim milk – limit to 100mL per day

Cheese as allowed in salad or sandwich limits

High-protein milk (e.g. Shape™)
BeveragesTea, coffee, soft drinks, cordialMilk
BiscuitsLow-protein biscuits only -

Sugar, cream

Low-protein dishes (e.g. pasta)

Low-protein biscuits

Cream, sugar, hard lollies



  1. Food Standards Australia New Zealand. NUTTAB Online searchable database: foods that contain protein.
  2. Dietitians Association of Australia. Nutrition manual. 8th ed. Canberra: DAA; 2009. 3
  3. American Dietetic Association. Nutrition care manual. Chicago: ADA; 2009. [accessed 26 April 2010];
  4. Fouque D, Laville M. Low protein diets for chronic kidney disease in non diabetic adults. Cochrane Database Sys Rev 2009;(3):CD001892.
  5. Maher AK, editor; Iowa Dietetic Association. Simplified diet manual. 10th ed. Ames: Blackwell; 2007.
  6. Dietitians Association of Australia: Australia and New Zealand Renal Guidelines Taskforce. Evidence based practice guidelines for the nutritional management of chronic kidney disease. Nutr Diet 2006;63 Suppl 2:S35-45.
  7. Kopple JD, Levey AS, Greene T, Chumlea WC, Gassman JJ, Hollinger DL et al. Effect of dietary protein restriction on nutritional status in the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease Study. Kidney Int 1997;52:778-91.
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