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Drinking One Sugary Soda a Day Could Elevate Risk of Kidney Stones by 23 Percent

Update Date: May 16, 2013 01:45 PM EDT

Especially while the weather heats up, it is important to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids is not just helpful for staving off dehydration though; doctors recommend drinking fluids in order to help prevent the likelihood of developing painful kidney stones. However, a recent study has found that, in the prevention of kidney stones, all beverages are not created equal. Sugar-sweetened beverages, like sodas and fruit punches, have been found to elevate the risk of kidney stones.

The study was conducted using sample sizes from three different cohorts. Altogether, there were 194,095 participants included in the study. The researchers tracked them for about eight years, asking them questions every other year about their medical history, medication and lifestyle. Every four years, the researchers also asked the participants about their diets.

The researchers found that people who drank sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and fruit punch had a 23 percent elevated risk of developing kidney stones than people who drank soda less than once a week. However, some beverages were better than others at prevention of kidney stones. Coffee, tea and orange juice all proved to be helpful in preventing kidney stones, though it is not clear whether participants derived the same benefits from them if they were sweetened with sugar.

"While there is no conclusive evidence to show that sugary drinks alone cause kidney stones, other associations with the consumption of sugary beverages has been reported," Dr. Michael Palese, an associate professor of urology at the Icahn School of Medicine, who was not affiliated with the study, said to Health Day. "This includes diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, which have also been linked to the formation of kidney stones."

"Although higher total fluid intake reduces the risk of stone formation, this information about individual beverages may be useful for general practitioners seeking to implement strategies to reduce stone formation in their patients," study author Pietro Manuel Ferroro, a physician at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Rome, said in a statement.

The research may tempt you to reach for a diet soda instead. However, though diet sodas are popularly seen as healthier, they have also been linked to type 2 diabetes. Ultimately, researchers say that the best beverage is water, both to stay hydrated and to prevent kidney stones.

The study was published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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