Sweet tea linked to kidney stones

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Sweet tea -- it’s a Southern staple.

Doctors are sharing a warning about sweet tea’s link to kidney stones.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center urologist Dr. Jorge Gutierrez says North Carolina is in the heart of the kidney stone belt.

He says research shows sweet drinks, including sodas and sweet tea, can contribute to kidney stones.

“The most frequent type of stone is composed of calcium and oxalate,” Gutierrez said. “A lot of people drink tea here. Tea is not good because it is rich in oxalate.”

Luanna Horn started having kidney stones when she was pregnant with her daughter in 1986.

Since then, they have kept coming back.

“Probably about every two years,” Horn said. “It’s just very excruciating pain.”

She makes a point to manage her stones through diet, including staying hydrated.

She mentioned that knowing the risks sweet drinks can carry, she stopped drinking a soda product she would have often.

Gutierrez says the main suggestion for any type of stone is to drink three liters a day -- which is about the equivalent of ten glasses of ten ounces.

The majority of kidney stones are related to metabolic issues -- others are related to infection issues.

Other ways to lower risks include reducing the amount of salt in your diet, cutting back on eating meat, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and eating foods with low oxalate levels.