Kidney Diet Tips


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New thin bagels and buns offer lower carbohydrate and sodium choice for people with kidney disease and diabetes


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New foods are constantly appearing in the market. My newest favorites are on the bread isle–thin bagels and thin buns. What a great idea–wish I had thought of it. Have you ever dug out the inside of a bun or bagel to reduce the number of carbs or calories consumed? Or eaten only half the bagel instead of the whole thing? No more–add the new thin buns to your grocery list.

If you have diabetes you’ve probably been advised to aim for a consistant carbohydrate intake along with watching calories to help maintain blood glucose in a healthy range. That means every carb counts–especially if you like variety in your meals.

Thin bagels (Thomas® brand) contain 25 grams of carbohydrate for one 4″ bagel, compared to 35 grams in a regular 3-1/2″ bagel and 60 grams carbohydrate in a deli-size bagel.  Thin buns (Earth Grains® brand) contain 21 grams of carbohydrate for a bun (yes, top and bottom), similar to the carbs found in a smaller 3″ bun.

Lowering sodium to around 2000 mg or less a day is important for blood pressure control and even reducing risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not already have it. Did I mention two thirds or adults have hypertension by the time they reach middle age? This contributes to the growing number of over 26 million people with chronic kidney disease (CKD).  Diabetes and high blood pressure and the number one and number two causes of CKD. 

The new thin bagels are lower in sodium compared to the regular products. One thin bagel contains 210 mg sodium compared to 320 mg for a regular size and up to 700 mg for a large bagel. Thin buns contain only 150 mg sodium compared to 200 to 250 mg in a regular bun.

Unfortunately the manufacturers do not provide information on phosphorus or potassium so if these minerals are restricted in your kidney diet don’t go overboard with these breads. There are no phosphate additives in the above mentioned brands however both contain some whole grains that add fiber but also contribute to phosphorus and potassium content.

Look for thin buns and bagels in your grocery store. Brand names include Arnold’s®, Oroweat®, Nature’s Own®, Pepperidge Farms® (Deli Flats), Sara Lee® and Thomas®.

Try these DaVita recipes and substitute your favorite new thin bun or bagel for a dish that’s even lower in calories, carbs and sodium than the already-kidney-friendly original version.

Easy Turkey Sloppy Joes

Great Way to Start Your Day Bagel

Lisa’s Awesome Burgers

Super Burgers

Tuna Salad Bagel

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Sara Colman, RDN, CDCES

Sara Colman, RDN, CDCES

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 30 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 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.