Processed food and drink – such as cookies, cakes and soda – increase the risk of kidney stones, warns a new study.
Researchers have shown for the first time that a greater intake of added sugars commonly found in processed consumables raises the chances of developing the painful condition.
Kidney stones affect more than one in 10 people. Common symptoms include severe pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and bloody urine.
But doctors say kidney stones don’t just reduce the quality of life as, in the long run, they may lead to infections, swollen kidneys and potentially fatal renal disease.
Known risk factors for developing the condition include being an adult male, obesity, chronic diarrhea, dehydration, and having inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diabetes, or gout.
The new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, has shown for the first time that elevated consumption of added sugars should probably be added to the list of risk factors for kidney stones.
The Chinese research team say added sugars occur in many processed foods, but are especially common in sugar-sweetened pop, fruit drinks, chocolate, ice cream, biscuits and cakes.
Study lead author Dr. Shan Yin said: “Ours is the first study to report an association between added sugar consumption and kidney stones.
“It suggests that limiting added sugar intake may help to prevent the formation of kidney stones.”
Dr. Yin and his colleagues analyzed health data from more than 28,000 American adults. Participants self-reported if they had a history of kidney stones.
Each participant’s daily intake of added sugars was estimated from recall of their most recent consumption of food and drinks, given twice: once in a face-to-face interview, and once in a telephone interview between three and 10 days later.
The participants also received a healthy eating index score which summarised their diet in terms of the adequacy of beneficial diet components such as fruits, veg, and whole grains, and moderation of potentially harmful foods, such as refined grains, salt, and saturated fats.
The research team adjusted the odds of developing kidney stones per year during the trial for a range of factors including gender, age, race or ethnicity, relative income and body mass index (BMI).
At the start of the study, participants with a higher intake of added sugar tended to have a higher current prevalence of kidney stones, a lower healthy eating score, and a lower education level.
The overall average intake of added sugars was 272.1 calories per day, which corresponded to 13.2 percent of the total daily energy intake.
The research team showed that the percentage of energy intake from added sugars was “positively and consistently” correlated with kidney stones.
For example, participants whose intake of added sugars was among the 25 percent highest had 39 percent greater odds of developing kidney stones over the course of the study.
Similarly, participants who derived more than 25 percent of their total energy from added sugars had an 88 percent greater odds than those who derived less than five percent of their total energy from added sugars.
Dr. Yin, a researcher at the Affiliated Hospital of North Sichuan Medical College, said the mechanisms of the relation between consuming more added sugars and a greater risk of developing kidney stones is not yet known.
He added: “Further studies are needed to explore the association between added sugar and various diseases or pathological conditions in detail.
“For example, what types of kidney stones are most associated with added sugar intake? How much should we reduce our consumption of added sugars to lower the risk of kidney stone formation?
“Nevertheless, our findings already offer valuable insights for decision-makers.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Suparba Sil