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Kidney Stones: Foods That Cause Them

woman on bed kidney pain

What are the main types of kidney stones and what foods cause them?

Eating animal protein can cause kidney stones. This risk likely comes from the acid load. It comes from the high content of sulphur-containing amino acids in animal protein. All the information here is based on information from

Kidney Stone Types and Causes

Did you know that there are different types of kidney stones? Calcium oxalate stones are the most common. But, uric acid, struvite, and cystine stones also occur. Each type has specific dietary triggers. Learning about the types can help you understand why certain foods should be avoided.

Understanding Kidney Stones and Diet

Kidney stones can be a painful and recurring problem. While genetics play a role, your diet influences their formation. You can learn which foods cause kidney stones. Then, you can adjust your diet to keep your kidneys healthy and lower your risk. This guide will help you identify foods to avoid and provide tips on staying hydrated.

Preventative Measures for Kidney Health

Keeping your kidneys healthy is crucial for preventing stones. Avoid some foods, stay active, and eat a balanced diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Learning how healthy living supports kidneys can also prevent kidney stones.

The Role of Hydration

Drinking enough water is one of the most effective ways to prevent kidney stones. Water dilutes the substances in urine that lead to stones. Aim for at least five glasses a day. Remember, coffee and soda are not as good as water. They can contain substances that raise kidney stone risk.

Foods to Focus On

It's important to know which foods to avoid. But, it's equally important to focus on foods that promote kidney health. Foods high in magnesium and potassium can prevent crystallization. Crystallization leads to stones. Eating these nutrients can help keep your kidneys working well. It's a proactive step.

Treating Kidney Stones


Most Stones are calcium oxalate. They form like rock candy when urine becomes saturated. Many doctors assumed that stones were made of calcium, so they told people to cut their calcium intake.


That was the dietary advice for kidney stone sufferers. One study changed this. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine: Comparison of Two Diets for the Prevention of Recurrent Stones in Idiopathic Hypercalciuria. The study put the two diets against one another. Low calcium versus low animal protein in salt and. Now people are advised to eat calcium-rich foods and reduce their animal protein and salt.

Dietary Intake of Fiber, Fruit, and Vegetables Decrease the Risk of Incident Kidney Stones in Women: A Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Report. The restriction of animal protein and salt provided greater protection, cutting the risk of having another kidney stone within five years in half.

What about cutting down on oxalates, which are concentrated in certain vegetables? The study shows no higher risk of stone formation with more veggies. Eating whole plant foods reduces the risk of kidney stones. Add more plants to your diet for extra benefits.

Reducing animal protein helps because it cuts acid production in the body. As a result, it limits urate excretion. Uric acid crystals can act as a seed to form calcium Stones. Or it can create entire Stones themselves. Uric acid stones are the second most common kidney stones after calcium. There are two ways to reduce uric acid levels: reducing animal protein ingestion or using drugs.

Another study: The Effect of a Vegetarian and Different Omnivorous Diets on Urinary Risk Factors for Uric Acid Stone Formation found that removing all meat can reduce 93% of the risk of uric acid crystallization. It took as little as five days to see a 93% reduction in risk.

The goal is to raise the urine pH to 6.8 to cut the risk of crystalization. Researchers have developed several alkalizing chemicals. We can naturally alkalize our urine up to the recommended 6.8 using dietary means. This raises the pH from an acidic 5.95 to the target of 6.8 by removing all meat from the diet. Meat is a prominent part of the standard Western diet.

We have established that not all foods are equal when alkalizing or acidifying. The Lake Score was developed as a load of acid to kidney score. It takes into account both the acid load of foods and their typical serving size. It can help people modify their diets to prevent uric acid, calcium kidney stones, and other diseases.

According to the Lake Score, the single most acid-producing food was fish, including tuna, pork, poultry, cheese, and beef. Milk and other dairy products are much lower, but still not ideal. Eggs are more acidic than beef, but people tend to eat fewer eggs at a sitting, so they score lower. Some grains, such as bread and rice, can be a little acidic, but not pasta. 

Beans are alkalizing, but not as much as fruits and vegetables. Vegetables are the most alkalizing of all foods. Dietary changes alone are not enough to dissolve uric acid stones completely. No drugs, no surgery; drink more water and change your diet by restricting animal protein. 

There are five types of kidney stones. The key dietary tips include:

  • Drinking 10-12 cups of water daily.

  • Lowering animal protein intake.

  • Cutting down on salt.

  • Increasing vegetable consumption.

  • Opting for more vegetarian options.

Reading Food Labels

Many processed foods have lots of sodium and added sugars. These things help form kidney stones. Learning to read food labels can help you make healthier choices. It can also help you avoid hidden sources of these harmful parts. This skill is a valuable part of managing your risk for kidney stones.

Personalizing Your Diet

Everyone’s body is different, and some may be more prone to kidney stones than others. Talking to a healthcare provider or dietitian can help you tailor your diet. They can help to prevent kidney stones based on your health needs and food preferences. This approach is personalized. It ensures you get the nutrients you need without more risk.

Kidney Stone Myths and Facts

There are many myths about kidney stones and the foods that cause them. For instance, calcium is in some kidney stones. But, you shouldn't cut out calcium-rich foods. In fact, a balanced amount of calcium can help prevent certain types of stones. Learning the facts can help you make informed decisions about your diet.


To find out more about kidney stones and foods that cause them, and to check my source of information, go to and watch Dr Greger’s video. This is their opinion, you should always speak to your healthcare provider before making decisions about your health or dietary changes. 

Please research and speak to a medical professional before making dietary changes. I have listed the sources I use in the Resource Library. I am not a medical practitioner, just someone trying to raise awareness.

If you want to learn more about oxalates, read Are Oxalate Foods Bad for You?


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