Helping you live a better life on dialysis

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Carbohydrates are starches that turn into sugar in the body and provide energy. They are found in sugars, grain products, fruits, and vegetables. Explore some new dialysis-friendly food ideas in our Recipe Center. If you have diabetes, and are receiving kidney dialysis treatments, you need to talk with your dietitian about making good carb choices that won’t make your blood sugar go up.

Not all carbs are the same, and they are not all used in the same way in your body. Sugar is a fuel your cells use for energy. Simple carbs are sugars:

  • White or brown sugar (sucrose)
  • Honey or syrups
  • Fruit sugar (fructose)
  • Milk sugar (sucrose)

Complex carbs also break down into sugar. Foods with complex carbohydrates may contain more vitamins, minerals, and some fiber (all of which are good for you). These foods include:

  • Breads, pastas, cereals, and rice
  • Fruits and vegetables

Diabetes and Carbohydrates

If you have diabetes, the glycemic index or glycemic load are ways to tell how much a carb food might raise your blood sugar. In general, carbs with lots of fiber, like oatmeal, are less likely to raise blood sugar. Others, like pasta, rice, corn, and white bread, tend to raise your blood sugar. To keep your blood sugar stable, eat about the same amount of food at about the same time each day.

Many dietitians prefer to use carb counting instead, because it is easier to learn and remember. Food labels require a listing of carbs. Your dietitian will help you learn what you need to know to get the right amount of carbs in your meal plan.


Content from Kidney School, a program of the Medical Education Institute, Inc..