Avoid Eating Whole Wheat Bread If You Have This Disease

Unlike the refined flour you'll find in white bread, whole wheat flour retains the healthiest parts of the wheat kernel, making whole wheat bread a rich source of fiber and other essential nutrients, like magnesium, folate, and more (via Real Simple). It's often suggested that we limit our intake of white bread and instead veer more towards whole grains. However, the reverse may be true for people diagnosed with kidney disease; oppositely, these patients may be advised to stick with white bread and avoid eating whole wheat bread altogether (perĀ Healthline). Here's why.

While whole wheat bread may offer us many health benefits ranging from reduced inflammation to lowering one's susceptibility to heart attack, this type of bread also contains high levels of two specific nutrients that can pose health risks to individuals with kidney disease: potassium and phosphorus. In one slice of white bread (28 grams), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that you'll find 35.6 milligrams (mg) of potassium and 28.8 mg of phosphorus. For comparison, one slice of commercial whole wheat bread (32 grams) contains over 81 mg of potassium and nearly 68 mg of phosphorus (perĀ USDA).

Potassium and phosphorus affect people with kidney disease

Affecting approximately 14% of adults in the United States, chronic kidney disease (CKD) occurs when progressive kidney damage impairs the organ's ability to filter waste from the blood, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Subsequently, this can increase the patient's risk for hypertension, heart disease, and premature death.

While potassium is essential in supporting the health of our kidneys, CKD inhibits our kidneys' ability to flush excess potassium from the body. When we accumulate too much potassium in our blood, this is known as hyperkalemia, explains Medical News Today. Those with the condition may experience an irregular heartbeat, muscle paralysis or weakness, or heart palpitations. To minimize these risks, people with kidney disease are often advised to stick to a low-potassium diet. The same is true for phosphorus, another mineral the kidneys struggle to filter out in cases of CKD. According to the National Kidney Foundation, an excess of phosphorus in the blood may progressively weaken bones and/or further impair kidney function.

Kidney disease patients should avoid whole wheat bread

Because whole wheat bread is an ample source of potassium and phosphorus, patients with chronic kidney disease may be advised by their healthcare team to choose white bread instead, which has lesser amounts of both nutrients. In some cases, however, simply limiting one's intake of whole wheat bread may be an alternative to eliminating whole wheat bread from one's diet altogether (via Healthline). If you're diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, talk to your doctor about what dietary options may be right for you.

In addition to whole wheat bread, other potassium-dense foods to avoid include bananas, avocados, beans, spinach, brown rice, and potatoes (via Medical News Today). Oppositely, beef, chicken, pita, cranberries, onions, and peppers are a few low-potassium food options. Additionally, you'll want to limit your intake of foods containing phosphorus additives, which can often be found in sodas, fast food, canned goods, and enhanced meats, explains the National Kidney Foundation.