Kidney Diet Tips

Is Wheat Bread Okay for a Kidney Diet?

BreadBreadBreads can be a source of confusion for dialysis patients or CKD non-dialysis patients who require phosphorus restriction. Refined white bread (made from wheat flour) is generally low in phosphorus and potassium. The more bran and whole grains in bread, the greater the potassium and phosphorus content (and higher fiber content). A soft wheat bread that does not contain whole grain is acceptable for most kidney diets limited in potassium and phosphorus. Often soft wheat breads contain molasses to give the brown color. In deciding which one, consider how many slices you would consume (a whole sandwich vs. one slice) and if potassium and phosphorus levels are normal or high on monthly blood work.

A fact often overlooked is all breads, regardless or being refined or whole grain, provide a significant amount of sodium, around 130 mg or more per slice. It adds up for those who eat 3 or more slices of bread a day. Compare labels and look for low sodium breads as an alternative. Checkout size of the bread slices too–thicker slices are generally provide more minerals than thin slices.

Check with the renal dietitian for guidance on including whole grain bread if you choose it over refined bread. Guidelines for how often and how much to include each day are helpful.

Here’s a comparison of wheat breads:

1 slice white bread: 25 mg potassium, 25 mg phosphorus sodium, 150 mg, fiber 0.6 grams

1 slice soft wheat bread: 46 mg potassium, 39 mg phosphorus, sodium 130 mg, fiber 0.9 grams

1 slice whole grain bread: 70 mg potassium, 57 mg phosphorus, sodium 130 mg, fiber 1.9 grams

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 20 years experience working with people with diabetes and kidney disease. She is co-author of the popular kidney cookbook "Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook". Sara is currently the Manager of Kidney Care Nutrition for DaVita. She analyzes recipes and creates content, resources and tools for the kidney community. In her spare time Sara loves to spend time with her young grandson, including fun times together in her kitchen.