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More Tea? No Thank You, Say The Kidneys

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Southerners won’t take too kindly to a report about tea’s side effects, because they love their iced tea. (I know; I’m one of those Southerners.) However, a Loyola University Medical Center urologist is warning that this refreshing drink can contribute to painful kidney stones.

The culprit in this deceptively genteel beverage is a high concentration of oxalate, one of the key chemicals that lead to the formation of kidney stones. Kidney stones are a common urinary tract disorder that affects about 10 percent of the United States population.

“For people who have a tendency to form the most common type of kidney stones, iced tea is one of the worst things to drink,” says Dr. John Milner, assistant professor, Department of Urology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Not drinking enough fluids is the most common cause of kidney stones. Warm summer temperatures and the potential for dehydration increase that risk.

“People are told that in the summertime they should drink more fluids,” Milner says. “A lot of people choose to drink more iced tea, because it is low in calories and tastes better than water. However, in terms of kidney stones, they might be doing themselves a disservice.”

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