Kidney stones are hard, pebble-like deposits made from minerals and salts that form in your kidneys. About 11% of men and 7% of women suffer from kidney stones, and they have a track record for occurring more than once. They can be extremely painful as they pass. The pain from kidney stones has been confirmed to that of childbirth! But it is unlikely that they will cause any permanent damage when treated in a timely manner by a healthcare professional.
The Chemical Makeup of Soda
Soda contains many types of unhealthy chemicals including high levels of processed bleached sugar, phosphoric acid, caffeine, and high fructose corn syrup. These ingredients can be extremely harmful to your body, especially when consumed in large amounts.
High fructose corn syrup in particular can metabolize into oxalate and increase excretion of uric acid and calcium. This combination of high-level oxalate, uric acid, and calcium encourages kidney stone formation.
Phosphoric acid, as mentioned above, is another culprit found in the average soda recipe. This chemical creates an acidic environment in your kidney tract enabling kidney stones to form more easily.
Finally, many sodas are high in caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic that encourages chronic dehydration, and dehydration is the most common wish factor for kidney stone formation.
So, Does Soda Cause Kidney Stones?
Well, not directly. But unfortunately the sugary beverage loved by many in America does increase the risk of kidney stones. People who regularly drink soda are at a 33% greater risk of developing kidney stones.
To be fair, not all types of sodas are equally capable of contributing to the development of kidney stones.
The consumption of dark cola beverages makes you more vulnerable to stones than light citrus beverages. Additionally, consumers who drink beverages that contain high amounts of fructose or phosphoric acid are more prone to kidney stone formation.
We recommend consuming any soda in moderation, and if you must, stick to the light citrus versions. Please note: If you are genetically predisposed to experience kidney stones, we suggest avoiding soda altogether.
So what SHOULD I drink?
Recurrent stone formers should aim for a urine output of 2 to 2.5 liters per 24-hour period. The best beverage to drink to reduce kidney stones is fresh-squeezed lemonade. Ideally, this would be homemade with concentrated lemon juice, water, and artificial sweetener. Orange juice has also been studied and shown to decrease the risk of stone formation. These beverages are high in citrate which binds to calcium in the urinary tract preventing stone formation.