Could Vegan Diets Contribute To Kidney Stone Formation?

Many dietitians, doctors, and experts talk about the benefits of the vegetarian diet. Those who follow this diet have a lower chance of obesity, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and a much lower risk of type two diabetes. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing and all diets require moderation of some kind and balance. Recently, celeb Liam Hemsworth was hospitalized to have a kidney stone removed, which Hemsworth attributed with the vegan diet he had been on for the past four years.

Those who have too much vegetable matter in their diet could be putting themselves at risk for sickness or, if not themselves, then their kidneys. Too much vegetable matter can lead to kidney stones. The kidneys are the filters of the blood, removing wastes and toxins and expelling them through urine. Kidney stones are hard collections of salts and minerals which form in the urine and can cause pain when urinating. Usually it can be treated by drinking lots of water and medication to break it up.

Some equipment may be used in a hospital setting to break up kidney stones and allow them to be passed. But, in the most serious cases, the patient may need surgery. One of the most common kinds of kidney stones are calcium-oxalate stones. These form when a person has too much calcium, oxalate, cystine, or phosphate and too little liquid in them. Additionally, a diet with too much sugar, protein and sodium can cause this condition as well. Many vegetables are very high in oxalate including spinach, beetroot, potatoes. People often conclude that the only diets which contribute to kidney stone formation are high in protein and red meat, while this is generally the case, we see from recent developments that even vegetarian and vegan diets, high oxalate consumption is a possibility which could lead to painful kidney stones forming.

The best way to avoid stones while still getting the benefits of oxalates is eating and drink calcium and oxalate-rich foods together during a meal. This will help the oxalate and calcium “bind” to combine in the stomach and intestines before reaching the kidneys. That will make it less likely for kidney stones to form.

It’s really best to practice moderation whether you’re a meat eater, vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, etc. No matter the diet you’re on, you could be putting yourself at risk of developing kidney stones if you aren’t mindful of what you are eating and how much, so always be sure to read your food labels and make better choices whenever you’re preparing meals.