Why Does Soda Give You Kidney Stones?

Sugary sodas, sugar-sweetened soft drinks, have been implicated in everything from gaining excess pounds of abdominal fat (increased waistline) to hypertension (high blood pressure). Another bad thing, it may hurt the kidneys, according to some studies. For instance, it may give you kidney stones, why? Although the answer is not fully known, but there are some explanations.

Bad properties in soda

image_illustration405There is now a well-known adage, consuming too much soda is dangerous and bad. But how bad is it? The unanimous answer from most experts ‘VERY’!

Ingredients in a can of soda can vary. But typically, it is a bizarre mixture of high levels of sugar, caramel coloring, and caffeine. Some may also contain phosphoric acid. And getting too much of these properties may cause negatively impact on your health.

High in sugar

Nowadays, most of American adults are considered overweight or even obese. And American’s soda diet is to blame. According to a research by Yale University in 2011, the average American can drink about 45 gallons of sweetened, sugary beverages every year.

Soda is high in sugar, which means it’s high in calories. For instance, a standard can of Coke contains about 39 grams of sugar.

Your daily calories intake should be 2,000 per day or lower to keep your weight healthy. There is only about 140 calories from a 12-ounce can of coke. It seems that drinking 1-2 cans of soda per day doesn’t significantly affect your weight scale – but wait …! The following facts will make you surprised.

First, you need to know that calories coming from sugar are much easier to become fat in the body! This means drinking sugary beverage will make you gain more pounds of weight than eating fat.

When you eat a high-calorie meal, it’s easy to feel fullness afterward. But this is different on soda. Even though if you drink it a lot, your body doesn’t feel fullness as fast as when you eat the calories! As a result, you can drink it too much without getting signal ‘fullness’ to stop!

What else? Diet high in sugar is bad for your insulin sensitivity, too – increasing the risk of type-2 diabetes. When you drink soda, you can experience another bad thing called sugar rush.

As soon as it is swallowed, your blood sugar can rise quickly and you have a spike in insulin (hormone produced and released from pancreas to keep the balance of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream). This may cause a glucose crash – and you’re likely to consume more sugar to compensate this crash!

Soda is great in taste. It may also improve your appetite, too. But it has none, there is zero nutritional value. Even it carries some health risks!

High in caffeine

You drink if you are thirsty. Keeping hydrated is important to support lots of body functions. But if most of what you drink is soda, actually it doesn’t help at all!

Soft drinks are quite high in caffeine. A 12-ounce can of Coke, for example, you can get about 38 mg of caffeine. And caffeine can contribute to raise blood pressure and heart rate. The effect worsens if followed with too much sodium (salt) consumption over the course of the day. Both sodium and caffeine have a dehydrating effect.

And caffeine is also to blame why drinking soda can be quite addictive. Other things such as flavorings and carbonated water are other reasons.

Caramel Coloring

There is a number of different ways to give soda color. One of them is from the reaction between sugar, ammonia, and sulfites under high temperatures. This results byproducts, 4-methylimidozole and compounds 2-methylimidozole, which are potentially carcinogens!

Phosphoric Acid

Soda can have a pH rating of about 2.5 (one of the most acidic drinks). And phosphoric acid is the answer.  Too acid is not good for your body. For comparison, pure water has a pH of 7. And healthy blood has pH of around 7.35 to 7.45!

Healthy digestive system is able to neutralize the acidity of food or beverage you consume. But it will pay the price in some consequences. To compensate with this imbalance, more calcium phosphate are needed and the body takes it from your body’s calcium phosphate stores which may increase the risk of bone fractures or osteoporosis.

Kidney stones – what actually are they?

They are hard objects coming from the accumulation of particular chemicals in the urine. As well we know that urine is one of the body’s mechanisms to expel wastes or other bad things. It is also important to help keep the balance of fluid in the body.

There are a number of different wastes dissolved in the urine. If you don’t drink adequate water or if you are dehydrated, your urine is likely to contain too little liquid and too much waste. This increases the chance of crystals to form.

The crystals can attract other wastes or elements to become solid and get bigger in size, unless goes away through urine when you pee. The good news, having enough liquid is often helpful enough to wash them out and prevent stone from forming!

After the stone is formed, it may travel down through ureters (two tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder) – or – it may stay in the kidney. Sometime, it can also move out of the body when you pee without causing too much pain (typically for tiny stones).

If it doesn’t move or stuck in one of urinary system organs, this can be serious. It may then cause partial or even complete obstruction in your urinary tract. This can be painful!

Oxalate, calcium, urate, phosphate, cystine, and xanthine are the stone-forming chemicals!

Kidney stones have several types, these include:

  1. Calcium-oxalate stones. They are the most common type of kidney stone. And as the name suggests, they are made by the combination between calcium and oxalate in the urine.
  2. Another common type of kidney stone is made from the accumulation of uric acid in the urine. Uric acid is derived from the breakdown of substance called purine (see also foods high in purines in here). Uric acid kidney stones are likely to run in families, though not always!
  3. Struvite, less common type! It is usually associated with infections in the upper part of the urinary tract.
  4. Cystinuria, a rare type in which stones made from cystine (an amino acid). It tends to run in families.

Why does soda give you kidney stones?

For every year or even month, a new study suggests that there is another potential health risk associated with diet soda. The most recent headlines, it may increase the risk of obesity, hypertension, heart problems, kidney damage, and even certain cancers.

But many of these studies relied on people’ memory of what they consumed and drank! The same goes in most soda studies for the risk of kidney stones. The observation studies can provide some possible concerns, but a definite answer still remains puzzling. Furthermore, some studies show mixed results.

Regardless to the issue of whether or not soda has a significant effect on the risk of kidney stones, most experts agree that we need to restrict it.

There are some reasons of why drinking soda may help contribute to cause kidney stones. Here are some explanations:

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