According to new research conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, sugar-sweetened drinks are linked to an increased risk of developing kidney stones.

Twenty percent of men and 10 percent of women in the U.S. suffer from kidney stones at least once in their lives.

Patients with kidney stones are often encouraged to drink more fluids as a means of preventing the condition from recurring.

The study, published in the May 15th, 2013 edition of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), was carried out to determine which fluids are detrimental or beneficial to one’s risk of developing kidney stones.

They found that certain drinks are more effective than others in preventing the recurrence of kidney stones.

In addition, it revealed that high consumption of sugary drinks (such as soda and punch) can increase our risk of recurrent kidney stone formation.

According to the abstract: “Consumption of sugar-sweetened soda and punch is associated with a higher risk of stone formation, whereas consumption of coffee, tea, beer, wine, and orange juice is associated with a lower risk.”

Gary Curhan, MD, ScD, a physician in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH and senior author of this study, said:

“Our study found that the relation between fluid intake and kidney stones may be dependent on the type of beverage consumed. We found that higher consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks was associated with a higher incidence of kidney stones.”

Data from three ongoing cohorts were analyzed: the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS), and both the Nurses’ Health Study I (NHS I) and II (NHS II).

A total of 194,095 people were involved in the analysis over an average follow-up of more than 8 years. All of the participants had to complete questionnaires concerning their medical history, lifestyle, and medication. Every four years questions on diet were updates.

Results of the analysis revealed that people who drank just one sugar-sweetened cola per day were at a 23 percent increased risk of kidney stone formation compared to people who had a maximum of one per week.

Pietro Manuel Ferraro, MD, a physician at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Rome and corresponding author of this study, said:

“Our prospective study confirms that some beverages are associated with a lower risk of kidney stone formation, whereas others are associated with a higher risk. 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.”

A study presented at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting revealed that calcium and vitamin D supplements are linked to high levels of calcium in the blood which can significantly raise the risk of developing kidney stones.

In addition, a new study from Johns Hopkins showed that obesity can double the risk of developing kidney stones and that the degree of obesity doesn’t appear to increase or decrease the risk one way or the other.

Written by Joseph Nordqvist