The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Bread for Dialysis Patients

shakleford's picture

Bread for Dialysis Patients

Does anyone have experience baking bread for a dialysis patient?  My grandmother is about to begin dialysis and is on a hemodialysis diet.  One of the (many!) restrictions of this diet is to limit whole grains, apparently because of their potassium and phosphorus content.  My grandmother is a big fan of whole grain breads, particularly rye bread.  For some reason, while the doctor told her to avoid whole grains, he did say she could eat "rye, white, or sourdough" bread.

Clearly we need more bread-baking doctors to give more precise advice, but in the meantime, I was wondering if anyone had any ideas for what might be most appropriate.  My grandmother is a beginning bread-baking but has expressed interest in sourdough, so I was planning to bring her some starter and teach her how to make a few sourdough rye recipes.  However, I'm not real clear on why whole grains are bad but rye is OK, so I'm not sure what would be most appropriate.

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Shakelford.

The dialysis unit serving your grandmother should have a dietiition on their team. I'd suggest you meet with her/him to get a clearer understanding of the dietary restrictions. This is a pretty specialized area of expertise, and you want your information to come from the professional most likely to have the most knowledge.

Good luck.


clazar123's picture

This site addresses the nutrients people on dialysis have to work around. Every patient is different and so you need to know what she needs to work around.

It seems that whole grains and rye have implications for dialysis patients.I can't find any reference to sourdough having any unique distinction-it is just another type of bread that must be controlled.The talk with the nutritionist may be helpful.


LindyD's picture

David Snyder is a physician and his recommendations should be followed rather than something on the Internet.

flourgirl51's picture

My sister is on dialysis and was also told by her doctor that she shouldn't eat wheat. She wanted to eat the whole wheat bread that I make from our organically grown grains that I grind into flour. She asked her doctor why it is that he told her she couldn't have wheat and his reply was that it is not the wheat that dialysis patients can't have it is because most commercial flour mills add phophorus to their flour and it is the phosphorous that causes the problems. He told her that if I am not adding anything to the flour that I make then she can eat all of the wheat bread that she wants. I have been shipping her my bread on a weekly basis and she has been eating it with no side effects.

I think that besides phosphorous being added to the flours along with other things to keep commercial flours " fresh" other factors may also be involved as to why some people can't tolerate commercial flours including GMO wheat varieties and chemicals that are used on most commercial wheat crops.


shakleford's picture

Thanks for all of the information.  I live on the opposite side of the country as my grandmother, so I'm not always up-to-date on the details of her condition - for example, I had no idea that dialysis restrictions were so patient-specific.  You've given me some good questions for her and more nearby friends and relatives to pass on to her doctors and dietician.