Low-Oxalate Diet
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What Are Oxalates?
Oxalates are naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and humans.

Why Should I Follow a Low-Oxalate Diet?
In the body, oxalates combine with calcium and iron to form crystals. In most people these crystals are passed from the body in urine. For some people, these crystals can grow into kidney stones . A low-oxalate diet may reduce the risk of certain types of kidney stones.

The effects of oxalate in the body depends several on factors, including how your body absorbs oxalate in the stomach and intestines, so this diet does not work for everyone. Fortunately, you can still get all the nutrients you need without excess oxalates in your diet. Talk to a registered dietitian about your goals and concerns.

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.

Unfortunately, there are variations in reported amounts of oxalates in food. New methods of measurement may counter established norms, causing confusion. There are also variations of the same food, for example, different kale can range from low oxalate levels (dino kale) to moderate oxalate levels (curly kale). Oxalate content can also vary depending on cooking or processing method, soil content, time of harvest, and form (fresh versus canned).

Eating Guide for a Low-Oxalate Diet
This chart from the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 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 RecommendedDrinks
Coffee, fruit and vegetable juice (from the recommended list), fruit punch

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

Artichokes, asparagus, bamboo shoots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chayote squash, chicory, corn, cucumbers, endive, 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

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

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 RecommendedDrinks
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

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

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

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

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

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

Beans (wax, dried), beets and beet greens, chives, collard greens, eggplant, escarole, dark greens of all kinds, 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

Carob, chocolate, marmalades

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

Other Foods
Poppy seeds

Be aware of how many grams of oxalates you are eating. Consider meeting with a registered dietitian to develop an eating plan. You may need to make several adjustments to reach the effects you want.

Additional tips to help prevent kidney stones include:

  • 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).

Eat Right—American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation

Dietitians of Canada

The Kidney Foundation of Canada

Attalla K, De S, et al. Oxalate content of food: A tangled web. Urology. 2014;84(3):555-560.

Diet and kidney stones. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/diet.cfm. Updated August 2013. Accessed August 28, 2014.

Diet for kidney stone formation. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/kidneystonediet/index.aspx. Updated November 15, 2013. Accessed August 28, 2014.

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

Massey LK. Food oxalate: factors affecting measurement, biological variation, and bioavailability. J Am Diet Assoc. 2007;107(7):1191-1194.

Urolithiasis/urinary stones food lists. American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. Available at: http://www.nutritioncaremanual.org/vault/editor/docs//UrolithiasisFoods1.pdf. Accessed August 28, 2014.

Last Reviewed September 2013

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