It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy


Ask Dr. Gourmet

Are we eating too many high oxalic acid foods?

The available information on oxalic acid is confusing and varies with every source. According to one source our regular breakfast (oatmeal, dried figs, blueberries, wheat germ, flaxseed, and soy milk), our favorite dinner vegetables (spinach, beets, okra, and beans), and our regular snacks (almonds, peanuts, and berries) ALL contain high levels of oxalic acid.

Aside from the danger of getting kidney stones, most sources are undecided about the effect of high levels of Oxalate in one's diet. Some say that it prevents absorption of calcium, iron, and other minerals but the extent of this problem is uncertain. Should we be concerned?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

a bowl of oatmeal garnished with cinnamon and sliced bananas

For most people high oxalic foods are not an issue. There are some people who are prone to calcium oxalate kidney stones, and there's a feeling that limiting foods high in oxalate might help with treatment. The general recommendation for those people is no more than 50 mg of oxalic acid per day.

There is not a lot of available information about oxalate content, however, because the USDA has not measured this as extensively as other nutrients. Here's general information on the oxalate content of foods from Wake Forest Baptist Health.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet