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Low-oxalate diet

Diet

Got kidney problems? Your practitioner may suggest a low-oxalate diet, which usually limits your oxalate intake to 40 to 50 mg each day. If you currently manage kidney stone issues, you’re probably already familiar with oxalates, the naturally occurring chemicals in plant foods that contribute to the formation of crystals, including kidney stones. Oxalates aren’t inherently harmful, but some people believe that oxalate sensitivity or accumulation may contribute to thyroid conditions, vulvodynia, autism, fibromyalgia, nutritional deficiencies, and other health problems. The theory behind a low-oxalate diet is that you can reduce the symptoms of these conditions through diet changes. With a low-oxalate diet, you take a comprehensive approach to oxalate management, and you evaluate your calcium, sodium, protein, vitamin C, and fluid intake as well. A low-oxalate diet can be therapeutic, but it might not feel “good-for-you” because it limits healthy foods like beans and greens! Note that the list of foods (and drinks) to eat, limit, and skip is looooong, and not at all intuitive. We offer a sample list here, but the first link listed below is for a handy PDF guide from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) that can help you make the most informed decisions.

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Foods to Eat

Certain grains, including white breads; cereals without nuts or bran; white or wild rice; most pastas and crackers Certain fruits, including bananas, white grapes, grapefruit, and peaches Certain veggies, including asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, corn, endive, cabbage, and lettuce Most dairy and cheeses Meat, fish, shellfish, chicken, and turkey Coffee

Foods to Avoid

Rhubarb Dark, leafy veggies (spinach, Swiss chard, arugula) Beets Wheat bran Nuts and seeds, especially almonds Soy and soy products Chocolate Tea Strawberries Most beans Certain other fruits, including berries, figs, purple grapes Certain other veggies, including celery, collards, eggplant, sweet potatoes

What Studies Say

As with most dietary science, the results of research on a low-oxalate diet aren’t conclusive. Studies support limiting oxalates from food if you get kidney stones often, but note that it won’t necessarily prevent them or help you avoid recurrences. Research suggests only 9 foods—spinach, rhubarb, beets, nuts, chocolate, tea, soy, wheat bran, and strawberries—cause a significant increase in urinary oxalate excretion. A few studies suggest a low-oxalate diet can help treat vulvodynia, and one study found that children with autism have 3 times the levels of oxalates in their blood, and 2.5 times in their urine, compared to children without autism, suggesting that high levels could potentially play a role in this condition.

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Certain grains, including white breads; cereals without nuts or bran; white or wild rice; most pastas and crackers Certain fruits, including bananas, white grapes, grapefruit, and peaches Certain veggies, including asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, corn, endive, cabbage, and lettuce Most dairy and cheeses Meat, fish, shellfish, chicken, and turkey Coffee

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