A new study finds that soda and fruit drinks with added sugar are linked to highest risk for developing painful kidney stones.
Anyone who has suffered from kidney stones themselves, or watched loved ones deal with them, can understand just how nasty they can make you feel.
Kidney stones can range from the size of a grain of sand or small pebble, to the size of a golf ball in rare cases. Intense lower back and abdominal pain are often the tell-tale signs of kidney stones, as they travel from the kidneys through the urinary tract.
Kidney stones can be caused by many different factors. Drinking lots of liquids helps prevent them from forming in the first place. But it is very important to make sure you are drinking the right liquids.
In a recent study published in May 2013, researchers found that: “Consumption of sugar-sweetened soda and punch is associated with a higher risk of stone formation, whereas consumption of coffee, tea, beer, wine, and orange juice is associated with a lower risk.”(1)
Doctors warn that sodas and drinks high in added sugars pose the greatest risk.
According to the US Department of Health, “Drinking enough fluids each day is the best way to help prevent most types of kidney stones. Health care providers recommend that a person drink 2 to 3 liters of fluid a day. Though water is best, other fluids may also help prevent kidney stones, such as citrus drinks.”(2)
A tried and true home remedy to help dissolve kidney stones is to add the lemon juice to water throughout the day. You can squeeze the juice of half a lemon into an 8 oz glass of water, but many people add the juice of one whole lemon per glass.
“Lemonade therapy”(3) suggests adding 4 oz total of lemon juice for 32 oz of water (the amount of water we all should be drinking daily).
What about those of us who have not had to suffer through kidney stones before? There are so many health benefits to avoiding large amounts of sugar. Obesity, heart disease and diabetes have all been linked to developing kidney stones. Staying well hydrated has major health benefits too – our bodies work better when we make sure to drink plenty of liquids.
You can reduce your risk of developing kidney stones by almost 25% just by giving up high sugar soda and fruit drinks. Replacing these high sugar drinks with lower sugar alternatives is the best way to prevent kidney stones from forming.
And if you are not a great water drinker, consider the pain you may save yourself by drinking at least a few glasses of water each day.
(1)Ferraro, P., Taylor, E., Gambaro, G., & Curhan, G. (2013). Soda and Other Beverages and the Risk of Kidney Stones. Clinical Journal Of The American Society Of Nephrology: CJASN
(3) Tasty treatment for kidney stones. (2006). Nursing, 36(8), 35.