12 Foods That Cause Kidney Stones

Before we get to the list of foods that cause kidney stones, let’s look a little further into this painful condition. Kidney stones is also known as nephrolithiasis, urolithiasis, and lithiasis. It consists of the formation of calculi or stones in the interior of the kidney. It may also occur in the urinary bladder, but less frequently.

Foods that cause kidney stones:  Image of slab of roast beef on a platter.

The calculi or stones form because the substances normally dissolved in the urine precipitate and accumulate in a solid mass. Most calculi are formed of calcium oxalate, magnesium ammonium phosphate, calcium phosphate, or urates. Once you pass the stones and have them analyzed, a specialist can prescribe a more specific diet. Which will most likely exempt foods that cause kidney stones.

Reduce or eliminate the things that cause kidney stones in this article from your diet. Those who have suffered the excruciating pain of kidney stones normally wish to do everything possible to avoid a repeat of the experience. This includes certain modifications to dietary habits such as those described in this article.

Foods That Cause Kidney Stones

bottle of salt tipped over with salt overflow on the table
Foods that cause kidney stones: Salt

SALT: High sodium intake with foods increase calcium concentration in the urine. In addition, it fosters the formation of kidney stones, while reducing the concentration of citrate, which naturally protests against formation. It is a well-established fact that reducing salt intake lowers the risk of calcium-based calculi, which are the most common.

PROTEINS: The excess of proteins and table salt, which is the norm in the Western diet, increases the calcium content in the urine. In addition, it promotes the formation of calcium calculi. Some studies clearly indicate that this effect is more pronounced with animal-based proteins.

DAIRY PRODUCTS: Consumption of copious amounts of dairy products fosters lithiasis because of their rich calcium content. The risk is greater if, as is obligatory in some countries, milk is vitamin D enriched, which increases calcium absorption. Therefore, dairy products are among the top foods that cause kidney stones.

CHEESE: Since cheese is rich in proteins, salts, and calcium, it increases the urinary elimination of this mineral and fosters the formation of calculi.

MEAT: Meat is rich in purines that transforms into uric acid in the body. Also, it increases the risk of forming urate calculi in the urine. Animal proteins, in particular, promote kidney stones. Those suffering from kidney stones should reduce meat consumption. In general, a vegetarian diet is preferable.

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: Alcohol encourages the formation of kidney stones, which is one more reason for abstaining from any alcoholic beverages.

More Foods That Can Cause Kidney Stones

Cup of beer on the edge of a table
Foods that cause kidney stones: Beer

BEER: Beer consumption produces an increase in diuresis (urine production), which might seem positive in cases of renal lithiasis. However, after the initial effect, a compensatory antidiuretic effect is produced, reducing urine production. The result is that beer increases urine concentration and, consequently, increased risk of calculi.

COFFEE: Make a conscience effort to avoid coffee! Especially by those with the tendency to form kidney stones, since it fosters it by, among other things, increasing calcium excretion through the urine.

CHOCOLATE: Cocoa and its derivatives, such as chocolate, are quite rich in oxalic acid and may increase the risk of oxalate calculi. The risk increases significantly when you add the cocoa products to milk, which is rich in calcium.

CALCIUM: Consumption of large amounts of calcium can increase the risk of calcium calculi. Certain foods, such as cured cheese, and supplements of this mineral are best avoided. However, it is not appropriate to reduce total calcium consumption. Because, paradoxical as it may seem, the restriction of calcium intake increases the risk of calculi.

red beets with one cut in half
Foods that cause kidney stones: Red beets

GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES: Avoid Green leafy vegetables that contain a great deal of oxalic acid, such as spinach, rhubarb, chard, and red beets. Especially by those at risk of forming oxalate calculi. Oxalic acid is excreted in the urine in the form of calcium oxalate, a salt that can precipitate and form stones. Only individuals prone to form oxalate calculi must reduce the intake of green leafy vegetables.

VITAMIN C: Avoid High doses of supplemental vitamin C  since it increases the production of the oxalates that cause calculi. The vitamin C normally consumed with fruits and vegetables poses no risk.


George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia Of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia Of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 244-245. [Foods that cause kidney stones]

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