Plant-Based Milk Alternatives and Risk Factors for Kidney Stones and Chronic Kidney Disease

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Objective: Patients with kidney stones are counseled to eat a diet low in animal protein, sodium, and oxalate and rich in fruits and vegetables, with a modest amount of calcium, usually from dairy products. Restriction of sodium, potassium, and oxalate may also be recommended in patients with chronic kidney disease. Recently, plant-based diets have gained popularity owing to health, environmental, and animal welfare considerations. Our objective was to compare concentrations of ingredients important for kidney stones and chronic kidney disease in popular brands of milk alternatives. Design and Methods: Sodium, calcium, and potassium contents were obtained from nutrition labels. The oxalate content was measured by ion chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. Results: The calcium content is highest in macadamia followed by soy, almond, rice, and dairy milk; it is lowest in cashew, hazelnut, and coconut milk. Almond milk has the highest oxalate concentration, followed by cashew, hazelnut, and soy. Coconut and flax milk have undetectable oxalate levels; coconut milk also has comparatively low sodium, calcium, and potassium, while flax milk has the most sodium. Overall, oat milk has the most similar parameters to dairy milk (moderate calcium, potassium and sodium with low oxalate). Rice, macadamia, and soy milk also have similar parameters to dairy milk. Conclusion: As consumption of plant-based dairy substitutes increases, it is important for healthcare providers and patients with renal conditions to be aware of their nutritional composition. Oat, macadamia, rice, and soy milk compare favorably in terms of kidney stone risk factors with dairy milk, whereas almond and cashew milk have more potential stone risk factors. Coconut milk may be a favorable dairy substitute for patients with chronic kidney disease based on low potassium, sodium, and oxalate. Further study is warranted to determine the effect of plant-based milk alternatives on urine chemistry.
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    Author List

  • Borin JF; Knight J; Holmes RP; Joshi S; Goldfarb DS; Loeb S