Are you a fan of almond milk?
It’s a popular choice for those who are lactose intolerant or looking for a plant-based alternative to dairy milk.
But, if you have a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones, you may want to think twice before reaching for that carton of almond milk.
Why? Because almond milk, along with other plant-based milks like soy and cashew, contain oxalate – a compound that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the oxalate content in almond milk and other plant-based milks, and explore some alternative options for those with a history of kidney stones.
Does Almond Milk Have Oxalates?
Yes, almond milk does have oxalates. In fact, it has the highest oxalate concentration compared to other plant-based milks like soy, cashew, and rice milk. This is because almonds themselves are high in oxalate, with just 1/4 cup of almonds containing 122mg of oxalate.
Oxalate is a naturally occurring compound found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. However, for those with a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones, consuming high levels of oxalate can increase the risk of developing more kidney stones.
While almond milk does contain calcium, which is important for bone health, it’s important to consider the oxalate content as well. People with a history of kidney stones may want to limit their intake of almond milk and other high-oxalate plant-based milks.
What Are Oxalates And How Do They Affect Kidney Stones?
Oxalate is a natural substance found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. After the body uses the food for energy, waste products travel through the bloodstream to the kidneys and are removed through urine. If there is too much waste in too little liquid, crystals can begin to form. These crystals may stick together and form a solid mass, which is known as a kidney stone.
Calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stone, caused by too much oxalate in the urine. When oxalate combines with calcium in the urine, it can form crystals that eventually become kidney stones. However, high urine oxalate is not always the cause of calcium oxalate kidney stones. In fact, the most common cause of these stones is high urine calcium. A 24-hour urine test can determine if high urine oxalate is the cause of kidney stones and what dietary changes can prevent them.
Reducing intake of high-oxalate-containing foods and maintaining normal intake of dietary calcium may be a practical method for reducing the risk of calcium oxalate supersaturation and limiting stone risk in kidney stone-forming individuals. Some high-oxalate foods to limit include spinach, rhubarb, beets, nuts, tea, wheat bran, and chocolate. It’s important to note that dietary oxalate may have an important influence on the risk of formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones. Therefore, a more real-time dietary assessment tool is needed to better quantify transient increases in oxalate excretion that occur with dietary oxalate consumption.
Oxalate Content In Almond Milk And Other Plant-Based Milks
When it comes to oxalate content in plant-based milks, almond milk has the highest concentration. This is because almonds themselves are high in oxalate, which is then transferred to the milk during the production process.
Other plant-based milks like soy, cashew, and rice milk also contain oxalate, but in lower concentrations compared to almond milk. It’s important to note that while these milks may be a good alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or have other dietary restrictions, they may not be suitable for those with a history of kidney stones.
For example, soy milk contains about 10mg of oxalate per cup, while cashew milk has about 14mg and rice milk has about 2mg. These levels are relatively low compared to almond milk, which can contain up to 400mg of oxalate per cup.
It’s important to consult with a doctor or kidney dietitian if you have a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones and are considering incorporating plant-based milks into your diet. They can provide more information on oxalate-containing foods and help you make an informed decision about which milks are best for you.
Can You Still Drink Almond Milk If You Have A History Of Kidney Stones?
If you have a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones, it is best to consult with your doctor or kidney dietitian before consuming almond milk or any other high-oxalate foods. They can provide you with more information on oxalate-containing foods and help you determine if almond milk is safe for you to consume.
While cow’s milk does not contain oxalate, it is important to note that some people may have lactose intolerance or other dairy sensitivities that make it difficult to consume. In this case, there are lower-oxalate milk substitutes available, such as oat or rice milk, that may be a better option for those with a history of kidney stones.
It’s important to listen to your body and find what works best for you. While almond milk may be a popular and trendy milk substitute, it may not be the best choice for everyone, especially those with a history of kidney stones.
Alternative Milk Options For Those With Kidney Stones
For those with kidney stones who are looking for alternative milk options, there are several options available. Oat milk, for example, has a similar nutrient profile to dairy milk, with moderate levels of calcium, potassium, and sodium and low levels of oxalate. Rice milk, macadamia milk, and soy milk also have similar parameters to dairy milk.
Cashew milk and hazelnut milk have lower levels of calcium and oxalate compared to almond milk, making them a better option for those with kidney stones. Coconut milk has undetectable levels of oxalate and comparatively low levels of sodium, calcium, and potassium.
It’s important to note that while plant-based milks may be a good alternative for those who cannot tolerate dairy milk or choose not to consume it for personal reasons, they may not always provide the same level of nutrients as dairy milk. It’s always best to consult with a doctor or registered dietitian to determine the best milk options for your individual needs.
Tips For Reducing Oxalate Intake In Your Diet
If you are looking to reduce your oxalate intake in your diet, there are a few tips to keep in mind.
First, it’s important to get the right amount of calcium. Consuming 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium every day can help lower the amount of oxalate absorbed into your bloodstream and reduce the risk of new kidney stones. Cow’s milk is a good source of calcium and doesn’t contain oxalate, making it a better choice for those with a history of kidney stones.
Second, it’s important to limit your intake of high-oxalate foods. Foods like spinach and almonds are high in oxalates and should be consumed in moderation by those with a history of kidney stones. In the case of almond milk, it may be better to opt for lower-oxalate milk substitutes like oat or rice milk.
Third, consider following a DASH diet, which is high in fruits and vegetables, moderate in low-fat dairy products, low in animal protein, and usually low in sodium. This diet has been shown to reduce the risk of kidney stones.
Lastly, reduce your intake of sugary drinks that may contain large amounts of fructose corn syrup like normal Cola, Pepsi, energy drinks, lemonade or milkshakes. Excessive dietary fructose has a strong association with calcium oxalate kidney stones. Diet or zero sugar fizzy drinks are fine.
By following these tips and being mindful of your oxalate intake, you can help reduce your risk of developing kidney stones and maintain good overall health.