One question that I often get asked, is about the potential dangers of oxalates in greens. Oxalates are a plant chemical which has the potential to combine with calcium to form a calcium-oxalate stone. These are commonly known as kidney stones, and many people ask whether they should avoid leafy green vegetables, and other natural foods which are high in oxalates. Especially as I actively promote green smoothies as a wonderful addition to a healthful diet.
When I was reading what others have written about oxalates, I came across an article titled “How Green Smoothies Can Devastate Your Health” and I had to have a read! The article talks about the dangers of oxalates as if they are a given, and ignores the fact that there is debate among experts as to whether the oxalates in leafy greens contribute to calcium-oxalate stone formation or not.
I was preparing to write a blog post to refute the arguments raised in this article, and then I found one written by Kimberly Snyder that did just that, and she wrote it beautifully.
The post “Response to Article: How Green Smoothies Can Devastate Your Health” starts with this awesome opening paragraph: “Yes you read the title right. Though 2/3 of our population is currently considered obese, as people load up on high fructose corn syrup-filled sodas, deep fried doughnuts and fried chicken, pizza and fast food supersized meals…green smoothies can be the thing that can “devastate” your health?! Yes, green smoothies, that are made of raw green vegetables and fruit. As preposterous as this claim will surely seem to you, read on…”
Love this girl! Kimberly continues:
“She then went onto describe the devastating effects this could have on health – ranging from fibromyalgia and kidney stones to oxalate stone formation in the brain. This type of fear-based, sensationalist nutritional information concerns me greatly, because it can keep people from eating the healthy foods their bodies need.”
I totally agree. Aren’t there plenty of other foods to write negative articles about, other than leafy green vegetables? With our nutrient deficient processed diets leading to horrendous levels of chronic disease, how misguided is it to be writing articles about the dangers of the small amount of oxalates found in leafy greens (and other natural foods), when the risk of oxalate related illness is very low? There are many other factors involved in calcium-oxalate stone formation, such as high animal protein diets and inorganic calcium consumption. Surely the focus needs to be on these factors, not scaring people away from a food group such as leafy greens which provide thousands of healthy nutrients – vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antixoidants and chlorophyll – as well as good levels of fibre.
I wholeheartedly agree with the conclusion that Kimberly comes to and highly recommend you read her full article if you have concerns about oxalates in your leafy greens.
Have you heard the negative stories about oxalates? Has it affected your consumption of leafy green vegetables? Do you agree with the first author, that green smoothies can “devastate your health” or find the response article by Kimberly Snyder to be more balanced?