Kidney Diet Tips


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Food Facts Friday: Oats and Oatmeal

Cooler weather is here and what better way to start the morning than with a warm and wonderful bowl of hot cereal? Oatmeal is a popular morning breakfast for people around the world. This comes as no surprise once you consider the many health benefits of oats. Oatmeal can be added to other foods like cookies, muffins, and granola bars.

While oatmeal is higher in potassium and phosphorus than other hot cereals, it can still be part of a healthy kidney diet. A 1/2 cup serving of cooked oatmeal has 80 to 115 mg potassium and 90 to 130 mg phosphorus.  However, part of the phosphorus is not absorbed because it is bound to phytates in the oat grains. It is naturally low in sodium.

Oatmeal is a more processed version of whole oats. While whole oats are less processed, they must be cooked for longer periods of time so they are soft enough to eat. Other versions of oats include steel cut oats, rolled oats and instant oats. Each has a different cooking time which can be found on the package. Instant oatmeal often has added salt. More recently, many manufacturers have reduced the amount of sodium in instant oatmeal. Compare labels and choose the lowest sodium brand.

Oatmeal and Health

As part of a healthy diet, oatmeal can improve heart health, digestion and increase energy. (1, 2) Oatmeal can help lower cholesterol, making it a heart healthy cereal (1). It does this with the help of beta-glucan, a soluble fiber found mostly in oats. Beta glucan “tells” the liver to pull LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, out of the blood. Then it binds to the cholesterol in your gut and keeps it from reaching the bloodstream. You need only three grams of beta glucan to reap these cholesterol lowering benefits and one bowl of oatmeal provides two grams.

The fiber found in oats is also beneficial for digestion (2). Most recommendations are to eat at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day for a healthy digestive system. One serving of oats provides four grams of fiber. So, along with other good sources of fiber, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, oatmeal can keep your digestion moving along.


Oatmeal Recipes

Oatmeal can be used in many recipes. For a satisfying breakfast, try s Quick and Easy Apple Oatmeal Custard or Cran-Apple Oatmeal Plus Egg from DaVita. com . If you prefer your oatmeal for dessert, try Easy Apple Oatmeal Crisp or High Protein Cookies.


1. eCFR Code of Government Regulations;

2. Old Ways Whole Grains Council

3. Quaker Oats:

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.


Sue Yager, MS, RDN, LDN

Sue Yager, MS, RDN, LDN

Sue works as a dietitian in Carpentersville and Marengo in Illinois She has been a dietitian for the past 15 years. The last eight have been in kidney care. In her spare time, Sue enjoys reading and riding her bike.