Sugary Drinks Linked to Kidney Stones

A new study from Brigham and Women's says cutting back on sugary drinks could save you some serious pain.

Sugary drinks

Refreshing, but bad for you. Photo via Shutterstock

We’ve reported quite a bit on recent efforts to curb the consumption and sales of sugary drinks. Those initiatives often fall back on the argument of sugary drinks’ contribution to the raging obesity epidemic, but anti-soda groups now have another weapon in their arsenal: A study linking sugar-sweetened beverages to kidney stones.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital published a paper in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology saying that excessive consumption of sugary drinks like soda increases the risk of kidney stone formation, which already affects 20 percent of American men and 10 percent of American women. The research is notable because doctors often tell patients to drink more fluids as a way to prevent kidney stones, but this paper shows that some liquid may do more harm than good. A report from the hospital says:

“Our study found that the relation between fluid intake and kidney stones may be dependent on the type of beverage consumed,” explained Gary Curhan, MD, ScD, a physician in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH and senior author of this study.  “We found that higher consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks was associated with a higher incidence of kidney stones.”

The researchers tracked personal information about the diet, lifestyle, and medical history of nearly 200,000 patients over an average course of eight years. They found that patients who admitted to drinking one or more servings of sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda and fruit punch, per day had a 23 percent higher chance of forming kidney stones than patients who drank less than that. Further, individuals who drank coffee, tea, and orange juice had a lower-than-average risk of forming stones.

While kidney stones may not exactly be a headline-grabbing issue, facts are facts: Sugary drinks are just plain bad for you. As research continues to emerge, we see nothing but reasons to kick that daily soda habit. Your body will thank you.