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What Are Oxalates?

Oxalates are naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and humans. The kidneys excrete oxalates into the urine.

Why Should I Follow a Low-Oxalate Diet?

Eating a diet low in oxalates can reduce your risk of developing kidney stones . Kidney stones sometimes form when oxalates and calcium bind together. Decreasing the amount of oxalates that are present in the urine lowers this risk.

Low-Oxalate Basics

A low-oxalate diet usually limits oxalate intake to about 50 milligrams (mg) per day. Because oxalates are found in many different foods, it is important to become familiar with which foods are fine to eat in moderation and which foods should be avoided.

Eating Guide for a Low-Oxalate Diet

This chart from the American Dietetic Association spotlights foods that are either low or moderate in oxalates. If you have calcium stones, it is important to decrease your sodium intake, as well.

Foods Low in Sodium or OxalateFoods Recommended
Drinks

Coffee, fruit and vegetable juice (from the recommended list), fruit punch

Fruits

Apples, apricots (fresh or canned), avocado, bananas, cherries (sweet), cranberries, grapefruit, red or green grapes, lemon and lime juice, melons, nectarines, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, oranges, strawberries (fresh), tangerines

Vegetables

Artichokes, asparagus, bamboo shoots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chayote squash, chicory, corn, cucumbers, endive, kale, lettuce, lima beans, mushrooms, onions, peas, peppers, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, zucchini

Breads, Cereals, Grains

Egg noodles, rye bread, cooked and dry cereals without nuts or bran, crackers with unsalted tops, white or wild rice

Meat, Meat Replacements, Fish, Poultry

Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, egg whites, egg replacements

Soup

Homemade soup (using the recommended veggies and meat), low-sodium bouillon, low-sodium canned

Desserts

Cookies, cakes, ice cream, pudding without chocolate or nuts, candy without chocolate or nuts

Fats and Oils

Butter, margarine, cream, oil, salad dressing, mayonnaise

Other Foods

Unsalted potato chips or pretzels, herbs (eg, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder), lemon juice, salt-free seasoning blends, vinegar

Other Foods Low in OxalateFoods Recommended
Drinks

Beer, cola, wine, buttermilk, lemonade or limeade (without added vitamin C), milk

Meat, Meat Replacements, Fish, Poultry

Lunch meat, ham, bacon, hot dogs, bratwurst, sausage, chicken nuggets, cheddar cheese, canned fish and shellfish

Soup

Tomato soup, cheese soup

Other Foods

Coconuts, lemon or lime juices, sugar or sweeteners, jellies or jams (from the recommended list)

Moderate-Oxalate FoodsFoods to Limit
Drinks

Fruit and vegetable juices (from the recommended list), chocolate milk, rice milk, hot cocoa, tea

Fruits

Blackberries, blueberries, black currants, cherries (sour), fruit cocktail, mangoes, orange peel, prunes, purple plums

Vegetables

Baked beans, carrots, celery, green beans, parsnips, summer squash, tomatoes, turnips

Breads, Cereals, Grains

White bread, cornbread or cornmeal, white English muffins, saltine or soda crackers, brown rice, vanilla wafers, spaghetti and other noodles, firm tofu, bagels, oatmeal

Meat/meat replacements, fish, poultry

Sardines

Desserts

Chocolate cake

Fats and Oils

Macadamia nuts, pistachio nuts, english walnuts

Other Foods

Jams or jellies (made with the recommended fruits), pepper

High-Oxalate FoodsFoods to Avoid
Drinks

Chocolate drink mixes, soy milk, Ovaltine, instant iced tea, fruit juices of fruits listed below

Fruits

Apricots (dried), red currants, figs, kiwi, plums, rhubarb

Vegetables

Beans (wax, dried), beets and beet greens, chives, collard greens, eggplant, escarole, dark greens of all kinds, kale, leeks, okra, parsley, rutabagas, spinach, Swiss chard, tomato paste, watercress

Breads, Cereals, Grains

Amaranth, barley, white corn flour, fried potatoes, fruitcake, grits, soybean products, sweet potatoes, wheat germ and bran, buckwheat flour, All Bran cereal, graham crackers, pretzels, whole wheat bread

Meat/meat replacements, fish, poultry

Dried beans, peanut butter, soy burgers, miso

Desserts

Carob, chocolate, marmalades

Fats and Oils

Nuts (peanuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts), nut butters, sesame seeds, tahini paste

Other Foods

Poppy seeds

Suggestions
  • Become familiar with serving sizes. Be aware of how many grams of oxalates you are eating.
  • Consider meeting with a registered dietitian to develop an eating plan.
  • Additional tips on preventing kidney stones:
    • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids every day.
    • Do not take large doses of vitamin C supplements (limit to less than 1,000 mg/day).
    • Keep protein intake below 80 grams/day.
    • Eat a low salt diet (less than 2,000 mg/day).

RESOURCES:

American Dietetic Association
http://www.eatright.org/

The Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation
http://www.ohf.org/

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Dietitians of Canada
http://www.dietitians.ca/

The Kidney Foundation of Canada
http://www.kidney.ca/

References:

Finkielstein VA, Goldfarb DS. Strategies for preventing calcium oxalate stones. CMAJ. 2006;174:1407-1409.

Limited oxalate diet. Ohio State University Medical Center website. Available at: http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/pdfs/PatientEd/Materials/PDFDocs/nut-diet/nut-other/limit.pdf . Accessed April 18, 2007.

Low oxalate diet. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center website. Available at: http://patienteducation.upmc.com/Pdf/LowOxalateDiet.pdf . Accessed April 18, 2007.

Nutrition care manual. American Dietetic Association website. Available at: http://nutritioncaremanual.org/auth.cfm?p=%2Findex.cfm%3F . Accessed January 3, 2009.

Nutrition care manual: urolithiasis/urinary stones food lists. American Dietetic Association website. Available at: http://www.nutritioncaremanual.org/vault/editor/docs//UrolithiasisFoods1.pdf . Accessed January 29, 2010.

The Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation website. Available at: http://www.ohf.org . Accessed January 3, 2010.



Last reviewed September 2013 by Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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