Staving Off Kidney Stones

A healthful diet may help prevent the formation of kidney stones, according to research recently published online in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. A variety of health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and overweight, put a person at increased risk of developing kidney stones.


Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital used data from nearly 242,000 health-care workers who had completed surveys about their diets every four years for up to 18 years to determine the effect of healthful eating habits on the development of kidney stones. The scientists assigned a score to each participant based on his or her adherence to eight principles of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, an eating plan that encourages a high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats, and a low intake of sodium, sugar-sweetened drinks, red meat, and processed meat. A higher score indicated closer adherence to the diet.

Over a combined 50-year follow-up period, there were 5,645 cases of kidney stones in the participants. Those with the highest DASH scores were found to be between 40% and 45% less likely to develop kidney stones than those with the lowest DASH scores. This decrease in risk was seen regardless of factors such as age, body size, and fluid intake.

According to the study’s authors, “Consumption of a DASH-style diet is associated with a marked decrease in kidney stone risk… The impact was similar in men and women, in older and younger individuals, and in participants with both low and high body-mass index.”

The researchers suspect that the decrease in kidney stone risk is due to the high fruit and vegetable intake of the DASH diet, which increases urinary citrate, inhibiting the formation of calcium-based kidney stones. Additionally, normal or high calcium intake and low animal protein and sodium intake, all features of the DASH diet, are known factors for lowering the risk of kidney stones.

For more information about the DASH diet, visit the Web site of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. To learn more about the study, see the article “An Apple A Day Keeps Kidney Stones Away: More Fruits and Veggies, Less Salt Prevents Stones From Forming,” or read the study’s abstract on the Web site of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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  • Diana

    I have had 12 cases of Kidney stones since I was 21 yrs old, I am now 63 and still have stones that are not active that are in the kidney. I have had surgery on them 2 times. The ones that are there now have been there about 15 yrs and don’t give no problems. I found out that mine are not easy to control because of being from the main 3 things that causes stone. Which is calcium, uric acid, magnesium. Someday I hope that they find a better cure. Thanks Diana

  • kim

    I have had stones several times starting in my late 30’s. The last time I had 14 stones in my right kidney and 15 in the left. We have done Litho several times. The combination of the litho and celebrex caused me to have slight renal impairment. I have been a diabetic for 50 years and never had a problem until the last litho. I am now on Uro-cit-k and that has helped control the formulation of additional stones. We just pray my kidney function stays within a “high normal” range and does not get worse.

  • Georgette Robertson

    Actually I,like so many others I talk with are in dire accurate need of this information. So I am hoping I can ask some questions regarding all of the SWEETNERS we have the chance to choose from. After a lot of investigation reading, internet, and talking with others the problem just gets more confusing as my research goes on. Please give me valid information regarding Splenda, Sugar,Aspertame,Stevia, Xylitol,Sucralose,Agave, Fructose,and any other sweeteners we have a chance to choose from.

    I am trying to keep from having type 1 diabetes. It would be a lifesaver to have accurate information about what is safe & the actual side effects of these sweetners.


    Thank you, Georgette

  • Sammie

    I have had 3 cases of kidney stones. One requiring surgery on the kidney and the other two being removed with the laser. The first one was a calcium stone and the other two uric acid. I am really tired of having of these stones and being sick and in pain all the time. Today I will see the Doctor and find out if any of the stones particles are left. Hopefully not. Surely, there is a cure in the near future for all of us.
    Thanks, Sammie

  • Sarah


    First, I want to tell you that Type 1 Diabetes (also known as Juvenile Diabetes) is NOT preventable. Most people who are diagnosed with Type 1 are under 16 years old, and it is nearly unheard of to be diagnosed over the age of 20. Type 1 is when your body stops producing insulin completely. It is an auto-immunue disease, meaning that in trying to fight off some other type of illness, your body destroys your insulin producing cells in your pancreas. Even consuming large amounts of sugar does not have an effect on whether or not you will get Type 1. So you really have nothing to worry about in terms of artifical sweetners. There is absolutely no known way of preventing it.

    What you are probably trying to prevent is Type 2 Diabetes, which is insulin-resistance. This is most commonly caused by being over-weight and is most seen in people over 40. HOWEVER, many people who are overweight and over 40 do not have diabetes, so these are not guaranteed indicators of getting it. Here is where watching your sugar intake may be useful in preventing Type 2 Diabetes…

    I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes about a year ago and met with a nutritionist to discuss my new diet. My mother had the same exact question that you do. The nutritionist told us that all artificial sweetners on the market are safe for consumption. If they weren’t, the FDA would have recalled them. A lot of what you read on the internet by “doctors” may not be completely accurate. A lot of these people are being paid by companies to endorse certain products by bad-mouthing others. In short, if the sweetner is FDA approved, go for it!

    The best way to prevent Type 2 is to stay in a healthy weight range. Yes, part of this is watching how much sugar you consume, but it is also influenced by carbohydrates, calories, and calories from fat. If you’re worried about weight and Type 2, be sure to monitor all of these things. Replacing much of your sugar intake with artificial sweetners does not guarantee that you will not get Type 2 Diabetes, but it will help if you are already at risk for getting it.

    I am not a medical professional, I am just passing on the knowledge that I have recently gotten from my doctors about diabetes. I hope this helps!

  • Deborah

    There is a great misunderstanding about Type 1 diabetes. The old school believes it is impossible to be diagnosed after age 30 but I am here to tell you that is not true at all (straight from my Endrocrinologist). Anyone can end up with a pancrease that has died at any age now. Type 1 can happen at any age. Look up LADA. Is this new? Or is it just now recognized? God knows the answer but I am here to tell you that a lot of things are being discovered, like the link of Celiac disease and type 1 diabetes, kidney stones and diabetes, etc…
    If you have diabetes it is best to seek advice from an Endrocrinologist. For my diabetic self, I limit the artificial sweetners, limit sugar and carbs, and embrace a natural sweetner of liquid Stevia. It takes some experimenting to get the amount right, but 4 medicine droppers will be enough for a 2 qt. container of tea, or kool-aid.

  • Kimmer

    The first round of stones I had hit me when I was 17. They lasted for 7 months, and I passed more than 30 in that time. The doctors never could figure out why I made them, but like magic they went away. Fast forward to age 25 and they come back with a vengence. For the last 3 years I have passed 100’s of stones, some times one from both sides at the same time. I seem to make them as fast as I can pass them, and none of the urologist I’ ve seen have been able to figure out why. I currentlyhave 21 stones, 10 on the left and 11 on the right. I ‘ ve been to the leading treatment centers in the state of Michigan, but we are always left with more questions than answers.

  • I figured out more new stuff on this weight-loss issue. Just one issue is that good nutrition is tremendously vital any time dieting. A big reduction in junk food, sugary foods, fried foods, sugary foods, beef, and whitened flour products can be necessary. Keeping wastes parasites, and toxic compounds may prevent targets for losing belly fat. While specified drugs for the short term solve the issue, the bad side effects are certainly not worth it, plus they never provide more than a short-term solution. It is just a known idea that 95% of fad diets fail. Thank you for sharing your notions on this web site.