Who doesn’t need a treat from time to time? Finding low oxalate desserts can seem overwhelming. Lists of “high” oxalate foods often ban common dessert ingredients like chocolate and nuts.
Never fear! There are plenty of low oxalate desserts you can enjoy if you need a low oxalate diet.
Read on to learn more about low oxalate desserts, and how low oxalate desserts fit in a healthy diet for kidney stone prevention!
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Who Needs Low Oxalate Desserts?
First, it is important to figure out if you even NEED low oxalate desserts in the first place. Not everyone with kidney stones needs to restrict how much oxalate they eat. In fact, a low oxalate diet isn’t even necessary for everyone with calcium oxalate kidney stones.
The American Urological Association recommends that ONLY people with high urine oxalate levels follow a low oxalate diet. (1) A 24-hour urine test will measure the amount of oxalate in your urine. Healthy eating for kidney stones is MUCH more than oxalate. Sodium, sugar, protein and fluid may also be important.
There is no single diet for kidney stones. Nutrition must be personalized to YOU, and your 24-hour urine test.
Unfortunately, generic one-size-fits-all nutrition education is frequently given to people with kidney stones. Studies have found that dietary recommendations given to people with kidney stones is commonly incorrect, or inappropriate for that person. (2)
Sugar, Desserts & Kidney Stones
There is much more than oxalate to consider for kidney stone friendly dessert choices.
Sugar may make kidney stones worse. People who eat a lot of sugar, especially from sugary drinks, tend to have more kidney stones. (3) (4) Sugar can increase the amount of calcium in your urine, making calcium kidney stones more likely. (5) In fact, I am much more concerned about how much sugar my kidney stone patients are eating than how much oxalate.
Does this mean you can never eat dessert again? Of course not! Desserts (and low oxalate desserts, if necessary) can 100% fit in a healthy kidney stone diet. The key is moderation.
The American Heart Association recommends that men limit added sugar to 36 grams per day. Women should limit sugar to 25 grams per day. This definitely leaves from for a dessert not and then!
Be careful, sugar sneaks into our day in all sorts of surprising ways!
Sugar Substitutes & Kidney Stones
Sugar substitutes are okay for people with kidney stones. No research has found a bad (or good!) connection between artificial sweeteners and kidney stones.
Lots of research is coming out about the potential health consequences of sugar substitutes. However, most of these studies are small and lack scientific rigor. (6) Sugar substitutes are considered safe by the Food & Drug Administration. My general recommendation is that sugar substitutes are okay in moderation.
I get lots of questions about oxalate in stevia, the sweetener used in the product Truvia*. Although the stevia plant has a lot of oxalate in it, the oxalate is removed during processing. So, stevia sweeteners are oxalate free.
Work with your dietitian to figure out what the best sweetener option is for you!
What Is a Low Oxalate Dessert?
There is no official definition of a “low oxalate food”. Therefore, there is no official definition or cut-off for what a “low oxalate dessert” is.
I find that urine oxalate levels come down to safe ranges if dietary oxalate is limited to 100-200mg of oxalate per day – along with eating enough calcium. All of these low oxalate dessert ideas will easily fit into this daily goal of 100-200mg of oxalate per day.
Of course, if you don’t have high urine oxalate on a 24-hour urine test in the first place, you don’t need to concern yourself with finding low oxalate desserts.
Favorite Top 10 Low Oxalate Desserts
On to the good stuff! If you do need a low oxalate diet, here are my favorite low oxalate dessert recommendations!
Vanilla Ice Cream
0mg oxalate per 1/2 cup
Simple, classic and delicious! Ice cream has the added benefit of calcium. A 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream has 85mg of calcium.
Calcium can help reduce how much oxalate is absorbed from your food and ultimately reduce urine oxalate levels. Counterintuitively, consuming enough calcium is important for people with calcium kidney stones.
Other tasty low oxalate ice cream flavors include strawberry, caramel, pistachio, banana and peppermint.
0mg oxalate per 1/2 cup
Can you tell I am a frozen dessert fan? Sherbet is fantastic low oxalate dessert option.
2mg oxalate per 1/12 of a 9×13 pan
A must on my menu every fall! A bowl of warm apple crisp truly warms my soul.
Crisps, crumbles and cobblers made from other low oxalate fruits like peaches, pears, blueberries, blackberries, cherries or strawberries are also good options. Plus, eating more fruit (and vegetables!) can help prevent kidney stones. (7) (8)
Check out my Low Sugar Apple Crumble recipe!
3mg oxalate per 1 medium cookie
Strict low oxalate food lists often ban anything with flour. This is silly. Oxalate (and most things in nutrition) is all about portion size.
Unless you eat an entire package of cookies, the flour in cookies will not add much oxalate to your day. Shortbread, butter and oatmeal cookies are all lower oxalate cookie options!
Lemon Italian Ice or Sorbet
0mg oxalate per 1/2 cup
A summertime classic! Italian ice is a great way to cool down and enjoy a low oxalate dessert.
Bowl of Low Oxalate Fruit
Oxalate varies based on fruit choices
Fruit might just be the perfect low oxalate dessert. As a bonus, people who eat more fruits (and vegetables!) tend to have fewer kidney stones. (7) (8) Dessert is the perfect time to sneak in an extra serving of fruit.
My favorite low oxalate dessert fruits are bananas, melon, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple and mango.
0mg oxalate per 10 gumdrops
Candy such as gumdrops, jelly beans, Lifesavers, Good n’ Plenty and gummy bears are truly just made from sugar. No oxalate to be found here!
DO NOT worry about the oxalate content of higher oxalate flavors of candy, such as raspberry. The amount of actual fruit juice in candy is minimal (if any), and will not add a significant amount of oxalate.
0mg oxalate per 1/2 cup
Butterscotch, tapioca, banana or vanilla pudding are all low oxalate desserts.
Like ice cream, pudding has that extra benefit of calcium. A 1/2 cup of butterscotch pudding has abut 85mg of calcium.
5mg oxalate per 1/8 slice of an 8-inch pie
Seriously, who doesn’t love pie!? Pie made from low oxalate fruit like blueberries, cherries, apples, strawberries and most cream pies easily fit into the low oxalate desserts category.
1mg oxalate per 1 ounce
Chocolate is often “banned” on low oxalate diets.
Actual cocoa is pretty high in oxalate – 4 teaspoons of cocoa powder has 67mg of oxalate! However, the amount of actual cocoa that ends up in your dessert varies quite a bit. A 1/2 cup of chocolate pudding only has 2mg of oxalate in it, because so little cocoa ends up in the dessert.
White chocolate has no cocoa powder in it, therefore, it is essentially oxalate free. One ounce of white chocolate has about 1mg of oxalate. Compare this to 5mg in one ounce of milk chocolate (not much!), and 39mg of oxalate in 80% dark chocolate.
If you’ve never tried Lindor White Chocolate truffles*, you are missing out!
Be aware that white chocolate tends to have more sugar than dark or milk chocolate. Just like all desserts, enjoy chocolate in moderation to keep sugar in check.
High Oxalate Desserts
On the flip side, here are some higher oxalate desserts you may want to limit if you need a low oxalate diet.
Dark Chocolate Desserts
Desserts that have a lot of actual cocoa in them will be higher in oxalate. Hot chocolate and dark chocolate are two examples.
Desserts with Almonds
By far, almonds are the highest oxalate nut. One ounce of almonds has 122mg of oxalate. Desserts that have almonds in them will be a higher oxalate choice. Watch out for desserts made with almond flour too!
Of note, almond extract is rarely made from actual almonds. Even if it is, the amount of almond extract typically used in an entire batch of desserts will likely not add a significant amount of oxalate.
However, not all nuts are high in oxalate. Read more about lower oxalate nuts and seeds.
Raspberries have a fair amount of oxalate – about 50mg per cup of fresh raspberries. All other types of berries (and cherries!) are much lower oxalate options. If a dessert has a lot of actual raspberry in it like raspberry pie, it may be better to choose another berry dessert.
Although not very common, desserts with rhubarb are another high oxalate dessert. A 1/2 cup of fresh rhubarb has 540mg of oxalate.
If you need a low oxalate diet, rhubarb crisp or pie should be limited.
How To Enjoy Low Oxalate Desserts Healthfully
For most people with kidney stones, I am much more concerned about all the sugar in desserts than the oxalate. In either case, the key to enjoying any dessert in a healthy diet is moderation.
When you do enjoy a sweet treat, do so mindfully. Take time to ask yourself if you actually even want the dessert. So many times, we eat because we think we should, habits, social pressures, or external cues such as advertising.
If you do really want the dessert, then by all meals enjoy it! Take time to really taste and savor your treat. Serve yourself a small piece and ask yourself if you really want more.
And please, don’t serve yourself a side of guilt with your dessert!