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List of Foods That May Cause Kidney Stones

Updated on 4 November 2022

Kidneys are vital organs in the human body and when damaged could cause severe consequences. Kidneys filter the wastes in our body along with excess fluids. Different kinds of food have different effects on our kidneys and here is the list of foods that causes kidney stones.

What are Kidney Stones?

When hard masses of minerals and salts form inside the kidneys, they are known as kidney stones. The food and drinks that we consume have certain kinds of chemicals which crystallise in the kidneys and lead to stones. It is important to stay away from such foods to keep kidneys in a good condition.

List of Foods That Causes Kidney Stones

Below is a list of foods that may cause kidney stones.

  1. Artificial Sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners are used to reduce the intake of sugar, which increases calories. People choose diet soda over regular ones for the same purpose. But sweeteners on the contrary affect kidney function in a negative way. Artificial sweeteners must be avoided, instead, natural sweeteners such as stevia, agave, or honey can be used.
  2. Caffeine intake in larger quantities: Coffee, tea, and soda contain caffeine. Excessive use of such drinks which have higher levels of calcium can create stones.
  3. Salt: Sodium is necessary for our body, but taken in excess of the advised amount, can increase water retention in the body. Sodium gets stored and isn’t easily flushed out of the body. This results in increased blood pressure and calcium particles building up and forming stones. This increases the chance of calcium oxalate kidney stones. Do not make a habit of eating food that contains additional amounts of salt.
  4. Meat: Meat can lead to organ damage and kidney stones. Meat contains high protein and causes stress on the kidneys. The body cannot digest protein waste and it becomes difficult to dispose of it. Meat contains high amounts of uric acid which is one of the primary causes of kidney stones.
  5. Carbonated Drinks: Soda, a few types of bottled juices, and energy drinks have higher amounts of phosphate that can increase calcium oxalate levels and lead to kidney stones. Carbonated drinks form kidney stones and they can even increase the risk of other kidney diseases.
  6. Dairy Products: Dairy foods are high in calcium and are considered good for bones. But they harm the kidneys by increasing calcium levels that lead to kidney stones.
  7. Foods with a higher proportion of Oxalate: Calcium oxalate stones are kidney stones that are formed due to the intake of oxalate-containing foods. Usually, some of these foods are plant-based and are difficult to eliminate from your diet. Those who are prone to stones of this kind are advised not to eat oxalate-rich foods.
  8. Food enriched with animal protein: Here, the kind of stone formed is not the same as oxalate kidney stones. Many kidney stones develop due to animal protein. Protein raises uric acid levels in the body. However, there are many types of animal proteins and not all are unsafe. For example, Citrate can reduce the risk of kidney stones.
  9. Drinks loaded with sugar: Higher consumption of sugar should be avoided in your daily meals. Those with uric acid stones will suffer more from such intake. Higher amounts of acids in urine create kidney stones. When there are more chemicals, more uric acid is released by the body increasing the risk of kidney stones. More than salt, sugar is a risky ingredient. High fructose syrup must also be avoided. Sugary drinks can be replaced by those high in citrate.
  10. Excessive use of foods with Vitamin C: Though Vitamin C is very good for our body, it should not be consumed indiscriminately. Vitamin C increases oxalate levels and thereby increases the chances of kidney stones.
  11. Foods making the urine alkaline: Fresh fruit juices, molasses, and vegetable juices make the urine more alkaline. The urine gets mixed with the mineral phosphorus. People who are prone to stones should limit their intake of oxalate-rich food. 
  12. Sardines: An organic compound known as purine is aromatic and increases uric acid. Sardines are high in purines so they must be avoided.

There are millions of tiny filters in the kidneys known as nephrons. In the initial stages of kidney damage, you won’t get any symptoms. It is better to avoid foods like chocolates, beets, tea, spinach, rhubarb, the majority of nuts, okra, raspberries, cocoa poser, grits, miso soup, etc as they could be the reason for a kidney stone to develop. Drink plenty of water and follow the advice of your physician from the best nephrology hospitals in case you are diagnosed with kidney stones.

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