What to drink--and what NOT to drink--to avoid kidney stones

Drink this, not that

If you’re at risk of kidney stones, you’ve got some important choices when it comes to beverages. Certain beverages lower risk, while others sharply increase risk.

So here’s a quick guide for those who are likely to develop kidney stones.

We’ll start with the good choices…

Drink up!

If you have kidney stones, you may be familiar with “lemonade therapy.” One study that lasted four years showed that when kidney stone patients drank a daily lemonade, stone formation was slowed and the number of stones reduced.

Unfortunately, kidney stone patients also need to keep their sugar intake low to avoid stone formation. So this therapy loses a lot of its appeal when the “lemonade” is actually just diluted lemon juice that’s either sugar-free or sweetened artificially.

Instead, you might consider a recommendation from an HSI member named John.

John tells us that he used to pass a kidney stone about once a month. It was “excruciating.” But he found a way to easily alleviate his problem.

John: “I then read Dr. Jarvis’s book ‘Vermont Folk Medicine’ talking about apple cider vinegar and honey being so beneficial to changing the PH of the body to prevent kidney stones.

“I immediately went on this regimen by taking a half bottle of honey and filling it up with apple cider vinegar. Then I put about an inch of this mixture in a glass and filled it up with water. I did this every morning since and have not had another stone in 46 years.

“Cheap treatment and I have recommended it to anyone that I talk to that has kidney stones and they all are helped.”

John didn’t mention what type of apple cider vinegar he uses. Judging by his success, I’m willing to bet it’s a raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized product, rather than the typical apple cider vinegar you’ll find in most large grocery chains.

Also note that honey is a simple carb. Like sugar, it should be used sparingly.

But don’t drink THAT

Now–what to avoid…

Start with soy milk.

A few years ago I told you about research that found extremely high oxalate content in soybeans, tofu, and processed soy products. Oxalate is a compound that binds with calcium in the kidneys and promotes kidney stone formation. Researchers concluded that soy products are unsafe for anyone at risk of developing kidney stones.

Next on the “NOT” list: diet soda.

New research tested several brands of diet sodas and found high citrate levels in citrus-flavored varieties. (It’s the citrate in lemon juice that makes lemonade a plus for kidney stone patients.)

Dr. Brian H. Eisner, lead researcher on the diet soda study, told Reuters Health that he doesn’t suggest kidney stone patients start drinking diet soda. And if only he’d stopped right there…

He goes on to note that these patients ARE advised to drink plenty of liquids every day, and adds, “If drinking these sodas helps people reach that goal, then that may be a good thing.”

Oh brother! That’s like saying people have to eat food every day, so if eating French fries and ice cream helps them reach that goal, that may be a good thing.

A while ago I told you about a study that followed more than 6,000 soda drinkers for four years. Subjects who drank just one or more sodas each day were nearly 45 percent more likely to develop obesity, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure.

The kicker: These results were nearly identical among regular soda drinkers and diet soda drinkers.

And don’t even get me started on aspartame–just pure dangerous junk. The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports headaches, insomnia, and seizures linked to aspartame intake.

If you have a history of kidney stones and your doctor suggests you start drinking Sprite Zero, Diet Mountain Dew, or some other citrus diet soda, bolt for the door and find another doctor–and something else to drink.

“Citrate, Malate and Alkali Content in Commonly Consumed Diet Sodas: Implications for Nephrolithiasis Treatment” Journal of Urology, Vol. 183, No. 6, June 2010, jurology.com
“Diet Soda for Preventing Kidney Stones?” Amy Norton, Reuters Health, 5/14/10, reuters.com
“Direct and Indirect Cellular Effects of Aspartame on the Brain”European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 62, No. 4, April 2008, nature.com

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