Can Vegetarian Foods Lead To Kidney Stones?

Plant-Based Food
Plant-Based Food
Plant-Based Meal
Plant-Based Meal

Science has revealed many benefits of a low animal protein diet and due to this many people are switching to vegetarian and plant-based meal plans to improve their health. However, there is a growing concern in the world of the internet about vegetarian and vegan diets leading to kidney stones. Developing kidney stones can be really uncomfortable and if these stones block the flow from the kidneys, it can lead to serious health issues. Let us see if kidney stones are related to plant-based living.

The Relation Between Kidney Stones And Vegetarian Diets 

A majority of kidney stones are crystals of calcium oxalate. As per the nutritional fads, since most of the kidney stones are formed from calcium and oxalate, you need to restrict the consumption of food items that are high in calcium and oxalate to avoid the formation of kidney stones. Oxalate is present in many of the common vegetables and so you need to restrict the use of vegetables, but is this true? It is not that simple because:

  • All vegetables do not contain oxalates.
  • If the levels of calcium and oxalate in food are well balanced, then they will not reach the kidneys.
  • Diets that are rich in meat are associated with the commencement of kidney stones.
  • Many other factors like dehydration, excess consumption of vitamin C and salts can also lead to kidney stones.

Does this mean that your urologist was wrong about the connection between kidney stones and plant-based food preparation? That depends on different perceptions. Let us see why.

Carnivores Get More Kidney Stones 

Indeed, calcium and oxalate are commonly found in foods that are used in plant-based food preparation. However, plant-based eaters get fewer kidney stones than carnivores. As per the results of a study that was conducted in 1979, men who ate the highest amount of meat were more likely to experience the formation of kidney stones. This is due to the increased urinary excretion of oxalate, calcium, and uric acid. The same study was repeated in 1982 and it found that people who followed vegetarian diets have a 40 to 60% less chance of developing kidney stones.

From the above discussion, it might be clear to you that following a vegetarian diet cannot lead to kidney stones and such problems. It is the other habits like not having enough water, adding so much protein and sodium to your diet, etc that can lead to kidney stones.