What are oxalates?

Oxalate is an antinutrient found in plants, where they have a number of functions, one of which is to deter animals from eating their leaves. They tend to be bound to calcium, so many high calcium foods, like spinach, are also high in oxalate.

High oxalate levels in the body can be a problem. Oxalates can lead to malnutrition, and can deposit throughout the body causing inflammation. Oxalates are most known for their role in  creating kidney stones, however, the latest scientific research shows us even people without kidney stones can have problems with oxalates. Researchers found high oxalate levels in the individuals with autism, all who had normal kidney function. 

Oxalates have been linked to:

  • Inflammation (and activation of the inflammasome)
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • microbiome imbalance
  • Slow growth in children
  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Chronic disease 
  • Autism

There are a number of reasons for high oxalates in the body. Normally, your gut microbiome deals with oxalates, but an imbalance in your gut bacteria and digestive disorders can lead to higher oxalate levels. Additionally, digestion of fats, vitamin and mineral levels, and individual biochemistry all affect oxalate levels.

Low Oxalate Diet

The low oxalate diet is designed to restrict the intake of high oxalate foods (not eradicate oxalates from the diet completely). Instead, the diet concentrates on limiting exposure where possible. The low oxalate diet is a helpful tool to use alongside diets like GFCFSF or SCD to fine-tune an individual’s diet. 

Foods high in oxalate include: Spinach, swiss chard, nuts, some seeds, legumes, grains, certain fruits, beets, sweet potatoes, chocolate.

And the low oxalate diet can be helpful when oxalates are the cause of symptoms and underlying factors. 

Also, be aware oxalates can also be produced inside the body (e.g. endogenously), so in addition to a low oxalate diet, other factors should be understood and considered such adequate levels of nutrients (such as B6), avoidance of certain supplements and foods that (while not high in oxalate) can convert to oxalate.  

 If you are considering a low oxalate diet, research oxalates, plan your approach before beginning, and go slowly. It’s important not to remove oxalates too quickly.

Explore our low oxalate diet recipes below. Be sure to read all of the instructions before beginning in case diet-compliant substitutions are described in the introduction.

Your child is unique and so are their diet and nutritional needs. Learn how personalized nutrition can help your child today. Download our guide: “12 Nutrition Steps to Better Health, Learning, and Behavior.”

Low Oxalate Diet Recipes

Zucchini Pickles [Recipe]
Zucchini Pickles [Recipe]

If you have planted a garden, by the time summer is in full swing, zucchini and summer squash are often so abundant that you just don’t know what to do with them all.  These are simple refrigerator pickles, so there’s no expertise in canning necessary and no fuss....

read more
Pumpkin Pie Filling
Pumpkin Pie Filling

GFCF/SCD/GAPS/Paleo/LOD This recipe is a dairy-free pumpkin pie filling. You can bake the filling without a crust (for SCD/GAPS, Paleo), or add any diet-compliant crust you’d like for a delicious pumpkin pie. For the low oxalate diet, avoid high oxalate spices such as...

read more
Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Sauce

GFCF/SCD/GAPS/Paleo/LOD/FG For low oxalate, use all apples instead of half pears. Ingredients: 3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped 3 pears, peeled, cored and chopped 2 packages of frozen or fresh cranberries (12 oz) Splash of...

read more
Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes
Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes

GFCF/SCD/GAPS/Paleo/LOD/FG This recipe is SCD compliant.  For those on GFCF and not SCD, you can use half potatoes—this way you have mashed potatoes with hidden cauliflower. For low oxalate, use coconut milk. For nut-free,...

read more
Deviled Eggs (RECIPE)
Deviled Eggs (RECIPE)

I have to confess I've always LOVED deviled eggs. I used to be embarrassed to say so - I always thought I was the only one.  Deviled eggs seemed like a strange appetizer relic from the seventies.  Throwing parties, I assumed they would not be popular. However, since I...

read more
Gelatin Hearts (RECIPE)
Gelatin Hearts (RECIPE)

GFCF/ Soy-free/ SCD/GAPS/Low oxalate Gelatin Hearts are finger gelatin that you can pick up and eat with your fingers.  It is two layers of gelatin with a strawberry heart in the middle. Read instructions and get ingredients for everything ready.  Start with the White...

read more
Gluten-Free Gravy (Recipe)
Gluten-Free Gravy (Recipe)

• 1/4 cup ghee (or a lard and expeller pressed coconut oil blend if you are not certain your ghee has all the milk solids removed) • 2-4 tablespoons sorghum flour or sweet rice flour • 2 cups of pan drippings strained through...

read more