Avoiding added sugars may prevent kidney stones, study finds.

Avoiding added sugars may prevent kidney stones, study finds.

The Surprising Connection Between Added Sugar and Kidney Stones

Added sugar in the diet may contribute to the development of kidney stones

Kidney stones are not only incredibly uncomfortable, but they can also be excruciatingly painful. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, bloody urine, fever, and chills. Risk factors for developing kidney stones include obesity, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease. However, a recent study published in Frontiers in Nutrition suggests that added sugar may also be a significant risk factor for kidney stone formation.

Added sugar, defined as sugars or caloric sweeteners added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation, is prevalent in sugary drinks, cookies, cakes, and candy. Studies have already highlighted the negative health impacts of added sugar, including high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and obesity – all of which increase the likelihood of kidney stone formation.

The research team analyzed data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), covering 28,303 adult women and men between 2007 and 2018. They examined the participants’ history of kidney stones and their daily consumption of added sugars, determined through self-reported recent food and drink consumption. Various factors like gender, age, race or ethnicity, BMI, and medical history were also considered to evaluate their potential role in kidney stone development.

The study found a strong correlation between added sugar consumption and kidney stone prevalence. Participants who consumed higher amounts of added sugar were more likely to have kidney stones, as well as a lower healthy eating index score and a lower education level. In particular, participants who consumed more than 25% of their total energy from added sugars had an 88% higher chance of developing kidney stones compared to those with less than 5% of their energy intake from added sugars.

To understand the underlying mechanism between added sugar and kidney stones, we spoke with Dr. David S. Goldfarb, Clinical Chief of Nephrology and Co-Director of the Kidney Stone Prevention Program at NYU Langone Health. According to Dr. Goldfarb, sugar has long been known to increase the amount of calcium in urine. Avoiding sugar has always been advised as part of a kidney stone prevention diet, and this study provides a large dataset reinforcing this recommendation.

In addition to the increased calcium levels in urine caused by added sugar, there are other mechanisms linking added sugar consumption to kidney stone development. Added sugars can lead to reduced urine volume and elevated urinary calcium excretion, both of which contribute to stone formation. Dr. Gregory Buller, an Associate Chief Medical Officer at Bridgeport Hospital, explains that these factors have been established since the late 1960s. It was found that added sugars increased urinary calcium excretion and decreased urine volume in individuals with a history of kidney stones or among their family members. This relationship between added sugars and hypercalciuria strengthens the study’s findings.

Apart from the increased risk of kidney stones, there are several other reasons to limit added sugar consumption. Fructose, commonly found in added sugars, has been linked to increased visceral fat, serum triglycerides, and insulin resistance in overweight and obese individuals, even with short-term intake. These factors are associated with vascular disease, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Therefore, reducing added sugar intake is crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially for those who are already overweight or have a history of kidney stones.

While this study sheds light on the connection between added sugar and kidney stones, it is important to note that it is an observational study based on self-reported information. Therefore, the accuracy of the results may be affected. More rigorous types of research are needed to establish a causative association between added sugars and kidney stones. Nonetheless, this study, combined with previous work in the field, strongly suggests that added sugars increase the risk of developing kidney stones.

In conclusion, reducing added sugar intake not only helps improve overall health but also plays a pivotal role in preventing kidney stone formation. The negative impact of added sugars on calcium levels in urine, urine volume, and other related factors should not be taken lightly. By making mindful choices, such as cutting back on sugary drinks and opting for low-sugar alternatives, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing kidney stones. Remember, a sweet tooth shouldn’t come at the expense of your kidney health!