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Sugared drinks may lead to kidney stones

Adults who drink at least one sugar-sweetened drink a day are slightly more likely to develop kidney stones than people who rarely imbibe them, a new study has found.
The Straits Times - May 30, 2013
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Sugared drinks may lead to kidney stones

Adults who drink at least one sugar-sweetened drink a day are slightly more likely to develop kidney stones than people who rarely imbibe them, a new study has found.

While the recommendation for kidney stone prevention has been to drink a lot of fluid, the study suggests it is not just the amount of fluid, but also the type of drink, that matters.

The senior author of the study, Dr Gary Curhan of the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in the United States, said patients often ask for dietary advice to help prevent kidney stones.

To see whether the type of beverage might matter, he and his colleagues collected data from three surveys of nearly 200,000 people.

The questionnaires surveyed the participants every two to four years and asked about diet, lifestyle and health, including how much of certain beverages they drank and whether they developed kidney stones.

None of the people in the study had kidney stones at the start.

The researchers found that 306 in every 100,000 people who drank a sugar-sweetened non-cola beverage, such as clear soda, daily developed kidney stones, compared with 159 in every 100,000 who drank such a beverage less than once a week.

After accounting for other factors, that translated to a 33 per cent greater chance of kidney stones.

Frequent punch drinkers also had an 18 per cent higher chance of developing kidney stones. For every 100,000 people who drank punch at least every day, 226 developed kidney stones, compared with 158 in every 100,000 participants who had punch less than once a week.

Dr Curhan said that while the number of people developing kidney stones in each group is not enormously different, the increased risk spread across an entire population is quite big.

Other drinks, such as coffee, tea, wine, beer and orange juice, were tied to lower risks of kidney stones.

For instance, 137 in every 100,000 people who drank coffee daily developed kidney stones, compared with 205 in every 100,000 people who rarely drank coffee.

Just 96 in every 100,000 people who drank red wine daily developed kidney stones, while 174 in every 100,000 people who drank it less than once a week did so.

The study, published in the Clinical Journal Of The American Society of Nephrology, follows others showing a link between kidney stones and fructose, non-dairy calcium, vitamin C supplements and other factors.

The new study does not prove that consuming certain drinks cause kidney stones, but it is possible that sugar could be involved because it may play a role in how the body handles calcium, Dr Curhan said.

Another possibility is that sugary drinks may be contributing to obesity, which is also tied to a higher kidney stone risk, said

Dr Elaine Worcester, a professor at the University of Chicago who was not part of the study.

Reuters

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