Diet for Kidney Stone Prevention Sample
Nutrition Tips to Treat and Prevent
Calcium Oxalate Kidney Stones
Dietary management of kidney stones is aimed at preventing existing stones from growing
preventing new stones from forming. Kidney stones are often treated with medication
as well as changes in eating habits. The guidelines below are organized in order of importance
(those with most research-based evidence are listed first).
1. Drink at least 8-12 cups (64-96 ounces) of fluid each day. Choose good sources of
citric acid for over half of your daily fluid.
Concentrated urine is the leading cause of kidney stones. Drink at least 8 – 12 cups of
fluid daily to dilute the concentration of the urine. An easy guide is to aim for very light
yellow or clear urine at all tim es.
Citric acid from lemons prevents crystal formation. Over half of your daily 8-10 cups
of liquid should contain citric acid. There are many types of beverages with natural or
added citric acid. Some examples of including this amount of citric acid drinks are:
• up to 4 ounces lemon juice per day (added to your total 8-12 cups of fluids) or,
• sugar-free lemonade such as Crystal Lite™ (4-5 cups per day out of your total) or,
• sugar-free Country Time™ lemonade (4-5 cups per day out of your total)
2. Consume 3-4 servings of dairy foods every day.
Recent research shows that including 3 – 4 servings of low-fat or non-fat milk/yogurt
daily (must be distributed th roughout the day with meals and snacks and not all at once)
can actually protect against kidney stones. The calcium from dairy binds with oxalate
from foods, so the body doesn’t absorb the oxalate.
One serving dairy = 8 oz. milk or yogurt. (While cheese is also a good calcium source,
it is high in sodium, which can actually increase the amount of calcium the kidneys
allow into the urine, increasing your risk of having too much calcium in your urine.)
Most people should avoid large supplement doses of calcium (over 2000 mg daily),
however, some people with kidney stones may actually benefit from very large doses of
calcium supplements. Check with a specialist for more information about this, or
follow specialist’s orders if supplements are prescribed.
If you take calcium supplements to reach total calcium of up to 1500 mg/day from food
and supplements combined, you do not need to stop. Always take calcium supplements
with meals, since taking them in-between meals may actually increase the risk of stone
formation. (While calcium carbonate and calcium citrate supplements are both useful
for binding oxalate in the gastrointestinal tract, calcium citrate supplements are
recommended as they seem to help kidneys excrete urinary citrate and decrease your
risk for calcium stones.)
3/2008 N. Olson, RD
Revised 3/2010 S. Van Riet RD, w/input from K Penniston, PhD, RD
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