Can Carbonated Water Cause Kidney Stones? A Deep Dive into the Science

Posted by Alerna Kidney Health on

  • Kidney stones arise from mineral accumulation in the kidneys, leading to discomfort.
  • Dehydration, diet, genetics, and medical conditions contribute to stone formation.
  • Sparkling water's mild acidity has a limited impact on pH balance. Watch for added sugars and artificial sweeteners in carbonated drinks.
  • Prioritize hydration, manage diet to prevent crystal aggregation, and explore natural remedies like Chanca Piedra for comprehensive kidney stone management.

Kidney stones can be excruciatingly painful and are a common concern for health-conscious individuals. As sparkling water gains popularity as a refreshing beverage, you might wonder if its carbonation could play a role in kidney stone formation. In this article, we'll delve into the world of kidney stones, examine the relationship between carbonated water and kidney health, and address the frequently asked questions surrounding this topic.

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones [1] are solid deposits that form in the kidneys, often made up of minerals and salts that crystallize over time. These small, hard masses can cause intense pain when they travel through the urinary tract. Kidney stones vary in size and can be composed of different materials, leading to various types of stones.

How Do Kidney Stones Form?

Kidney stones form when certain substances in the urine, such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid, become highly concentrated and begin to crystallize. The crystals gradually accumulate and bond together, creating a solid stone. Factors like inadequate hydration, dietary choices, genetics, and underlying medical conditions contribute to their development.

how kidney stones form

The Different Types of Stones

Kidney stones manifest in various types [2], each distinguished by their composition and underlying factors. Understanding these types can shed light on the complexity of kidney stone formation and guide preventive measures tailored to your individual risk factors. Here are the key types of kidney stones:

1. Calcium Oxalate Stones:

  • Most Common: These are the most prevalent type of kidney stones, forming when calcium combines with oxalate in the urine.
  • Risk Factors: High intake of oxalate-rich foods, inadequate fluid intake, and genetic predisposition can contribute to their formation.
  • Preventive Measures: Maintaining proper hydration, moderating oxalate-rich foods, and ensuring adequate dietary calcium intake can help prevent calcium oxalate stone formation.

2. Uric Acid Stones:

  • Formation: These stones develop due to excessive uric acid levels in the urine, leading to the formation of crystals.
  • Associated Conditions: Uric acid stones are often linked to gout or a high-purine diet.
  • Preventive Measures: Staying well-hydrated, avoiding high-purine foods, and managing conditions like gout can reduce the risk of uric acid stone formation.

3. Struvite Stones:

  • Infection-Related: Struvite stones form due to urinary tract infections caused by certain bacteria.
  • Characteristics: These stones can grow quite large and often require medical intervention for removal.
  • Preventive Measures: Treating urinary tract infections promptly and following healthcare provider recommendations can help prevent struvite stone recurrence.

4. Cystine Stones:

  • Rare Genetic Disorder: Cystine stones occur due to a genetic disorder called cystinuria.
  • Composition: These stones are composed of cystine, an amino acid that does not dissolve well in urine.
  • Preventive Measures: Managing cystinuria under medical supervision, maintaining proper hydration, and following a specialized diet are essential for preventing cystine stone formation.

Understanding the different types of kidney stones underscores the importance of personalized preventive strategies. By recognizing the factors contributing to each type and making appropriate dietary and lifestyle adjustments, you can actively reduce your risk of kidney stone formation and prioritize your kidney health.

Is Carbonated Water Bad for Your Kidneys?

carbonated water and kidney

Carbonated water, often called sparkling water or soda water, contains dissolved carbon dioxide gas, creating the characteristic fizziness. Despite its popularity, concerns about whether carbonation might contribute to kidney stone formation have arisen.

What Does Research Tell Us?

Acidity in Sparkling Water

The concern about the impact of carbonated water on kidney health often revolves around its acidity. Here's what research has revealed:

  • pH Levels: Sparkling water, including both flavored and unflavored varieties, typically has a pH level ranging from 3 to 4.5. This means it is mildly acidic but still within an acceptable pH range.
  • Limited Impact: While acidity is a consideration, the human body is adept at regulating pH levels. Consuming mildly acidic beverages like sparkling water will unlikely significantly alter the body's pH balance.

Carbonated Drinks Ingredients


Beyond acidity, the ingredients in carbonated drinks [6] play a role in evaluating their impact on kidney health:

  • Added Sugars: Sugary carbonated beverages, often laden with added sugars, can contribute to weight gain and metabolic issues and potentially affect kidney function negatively. High sugar intake is associated with an increased risk of kidney disease.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Some carbonated waters contain artificial sweeteners as sugar substitutes. Research on the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners on kidney health is ongoing. Moderation and careful selection are advised when considering drinks containing these ingredients.
  • Natural Flavorings: Flavored sparkling waters may contain natural flavorings and extracts. While these additives are generally considered safe, consuming drinks with natural flavorings in moderation is recommended.

Balancing the acidity and ingredients in carbonated drinks is essential for overall kidney health. Opting for unsweetened sparkling water, which has fewer additives and is lower in sugar, is a sensible choice. Maintaining a well-rounded diet, staying hydrated, and consulting healthcare professionals for personalized advice contribute to a proactive approach to kidney health.

Remember that individual responses to carbonated beverages can vary. If you have existing kidney issues or concerns, seeking guidance from a healthcare provider ensures you make informed choices that align with your unique health needs.

What Other Factors May Cause Kidney Stones?

Factors beyond carbonated water play a significant role in kidney stone formation. Consider the following:

  • Inadequate Hydration [3]: Insufficient fluid intake leads to concentrated urine, creating an environment conducive to crystal formation.
  • Dietary Choices [4]: High intake of oxalate-rich foods (spinach, chocolate), excessive sodium, and animal proteins can contribute to stone formation.
  • Genetics: Family history of kidney stones can increase your risk due to genetic predisposition.
  • Underlying Conditions: Certain medical conditions (hyperparathyroidism, urinary tract infections) can heighten your susceptibility to kidney stone development.
  • Obesity and Weight Gain: Excess body weight is linked to kidney stone formation, likely due to altered metabolic processes.

Addressing these factors through hydration, dietary modifications, and professional guidance can aid in kidney stone prevention and overall kidney health.

The Importance of Hydration for Kidney Health

Hydration is a cornerstone of kidney stone prevention and maintaining optimal kidney function. Consider these points:

  • Dilution of Minerals: Ample water intake helps dilute urine, reducing the concentration of minerals that can lead to crystal formation.
  • Preventing Crystal Aggregation: Hydrated urine is less likely to promote crystal aggregation, decreasing the risk of stone development.
  • Flushing Effect: Sufficient water intake supports the natural flushing of the urinary tract, aiding in the removal of small crystals before they grow into stones.
  • Balancing pH Levels: Proper hydration helps maintain balanced pH levels, creating an environment less favorable for crystal formation.
  • Urinary Tract Health: Hydration is essential for preventing urinary tract infections, which can contribute to struvite stone formation.

Related: Can Hard Water Cause Kidney Stones?

Incorporating an adequate amount of water into your daily routine is a proactive step toward kidney stone prevention. A general guideline is to aim for about eight glasses of water per day, but individual needs vary based on factors like activity level, climate, and overall health. Ensuring proper hydration supports your kidneys in maintaining their vital functions and minimizing the risk of kidney stone formation.

sugar and strawberry flavoring

What Types of Food to Avoid?

Your dietary choices play a significant role in kidney stone prevention. Be mindful of the following foods [4]:

  • High-Oxalate Foods: Foods rich in oxalates, such as spinach, rhubarb, beets, and chocolate, can contribute to calcium oxalate stone formation. Moderation is key.
  • Excessive Sodium: High sodium intake can lead to increased calcium excretion in urine, increasing the risk of stone formation. Limit processed foods and salty snacks.
  • Animal Proteins: Diets high in animal proteins (red meat, poultry, fish) can result in higher uric acid and calcium excretion, promoting uric acid and calcium stone formation.
  • Foods High in Purines: Purine-rich foods (organ meats, anchovies, sardines) can lead to higher uric acid levels and increase the risk of uric acid stones, especially if you're prone to gout.
  • Sugar and Sweeteners: Excessive sugar consumption can contribute to weight gain and metabolic issues, impacting kidney health. Choose low-sugar or sugar-free alternatives.

Crafting a balanced diet that limits these foods while prioritizing hydrating and kidney-friendly options is a key component of kidney stone prevention. Remember that moderation is key, and consulting a healthcare provider or registered dietitian can provide tailored guidance based on your specific needs and risk factors.

Health Conditions to Consider

Individuals with certain health conditions, such as hyperparathyroidism or urinary tract infections, may be more susceptible to kidney stone development. If you have a history of kidney stones or are at increased risk due to a medical condition, consulting a healthcare professional for personalized dietary recommendations is crucial.

What Drink Removes Kidney Stones?

While no single drink can magically dissolve kidney stones, certain practices and dietary choices can help manage stone formation and promote kidney health.

Managing Sodium and Protein

Excessive sodium intake can increase calcium excretion in the urine, potentially leading to stone formation. Reducing sodium consumption and opting for lean protein sources can help mitigate this risk.

Optimal Calcium Consumption

Contrary to common belief, adequate dietary calcium is essential for kidney stone prevention. Calcium binds to oxalate in the digestive tract, reducing its absorption and lowering the risk of oxalate-based stone formation. [5]

What Drinks Should You Avoid With Kidney Stones?

carbonated drinks and kidney

When it comes to kidney stone prevention, your choice of beverages matters. Some drinks can increase the risk of stone formation, exacerbating the discomfort associated with kidney stones. Here's what you should consider avoiding:

  • Sugary Carbonated Drinks [6]: Carbonated beverages loaded with added sugars can contribute to weight gain and metabolic issues, which may indirectly affect kidney health.
  • High-Oxalate Beverages like Grapefruit Juice: Grapefruit is rich in oxalates, which can contribute to the formation of calcium oxalate stones. Limit your consumption of grapefruit juice, especially if you're prone to kidney stones.
  • Sodas and Sweetened Beverages [6]: Sugar-sweetened sodas and drinks are high in added sugars and often contain phosphoric acid, which can impact kidney health when consumed excessively.
  • Artificially Sweetened Drinks: Some artificially sweetened beverages contain ingredients like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose. While research is ongoing, moderation is advised due to potential long-term effects on kidney health.
  • Caffeine and Alcohol: Excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol can lead to dehydration, which concentrates urine and increases the risk of crystal formation. Moderation is crucial, and opting for water-rich beverages is recommended.
  • High-Sodium Beverages: Drinks with high sodium content, like certain sports drinks and packaged vegetable juices, can contribute to higher calcium excretion in urine, promoting stone formation.

When to Seek Medical Advice?

If you've experienced kidney stones before or have concerns about kidney health, seeking medical advice is recommended. A healthcare professional can assess your risk factors, conduct relevant tests, and provide tailored guidance on dietary choices, fluid intake, and lifestyle modifications to prevent stone recurrence.

How Chanca Piedra Can Help?

Chanca Piedra, also known as "stone breaker," has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to support kidney and urinary tract health. While research is ongoing, some studies [8] suggest the following benefits:

  • Breaking Down Stones: Chanca Piedra may help break down kidney stones into smaller fragments, making them easier to pass through the urinary tract.
  • Reducing Stone Formation: This herb may inhibit the formation of crystals, lowering the risk of new stone development.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Chanca Piedra's anti-inflammatory properties might contribute to alleviating discomfort associated with kidney stones.
  • Aiding Urinary Flow: Some research indicates that Chanca Piedra may promote healthy urine flow, assisting in the removal of small stones.

It's important to note that while Chanca Piedra shows promise, individual responses can vary, and more research is needed to fully understand its effects on kidney stones. If you're considering using Chanca Piedra as a supplement, consulting a healthcare provider is recommended, especially if you have existing kidney issues or are taking medications.

Buy Chanca Piedra to help you manage uric acid levels


While there isn't a single miracle drink that can remove kidney stones, a combination of strategies such as maintaining proper hydration, adopting a kidney-friendly diet, and exploring natural remedies like Chanca Piedra can contribute to your kidney health and stone management efforts.

Remember that kidney stone prevention involves a holistic approach, considering various factors, including dietary choices, hydration levels, and individual health conditions.

Consulting healthcare professionals ensures you're making informed decisions aligning with your specific needs and goals.

Sparkling Water and Carbonated Drinks: Frequently Asked Questions

Is Carbonation Bad for Your Kidneys?

Carbonation itself is not inherently bad for your kidneys. Focusing on overall hydration, dietary choices, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle for kidney health is essential.

Why is carbonation bad for you?

Carbonation is not necessarily bad for you. Concerns about carbonated beverages often revolve around added sugars, artificial sweeteners [7] , and excessive consumption, which can impact overall health if not managed.

Does Carbonated Water Make Kidney Stones Worse?

Carbonated water's direct influence on kidney stone formation seems limited. However, focusing on dietary choices, hydration, and consulting healthcare professionals for personalized advice remains crucial.

Can you drink carbonated drinks with kidney disease?

Individuals with kidney disease should consult their healthcare providers before making any significant dietary changes, including carbonated drinks. Moderation and a balanced diet are typically recommended for kidney health.

Medical Disclaimer:

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new dietary supplement, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition, or are taking other medications. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.


  1. Khan, S. R., Pearle, M. S., Robertson, W. G., Gambaro, G., Canales, B. K., Doizi, S., Traxer, O., & Tiselius, H. G. (2016). Kidney stones. Nature reviews. Disease primers2, 16008.
  2. (n.d.). Types of Kidney Stones. NYU Langone Health. Retrieved August 15, 2023, from
  3. Wang JS, Chiang HY, Chen HL, Flores M, Navas-Acien A, Kuo CC. Association of water intake and hydration status with risk of kidney stone formation based on NHANES 2009-2012 cycles. Public Health Nutr. 2022 Sep;25(9):2403-2414. doi: 10.1017/S1368980022001033. Epub 2022 May 6. PMID: 35514256; PMCID: PMC9991749.
  4. Prezioso, D., Strazzullo, P., Lotti, T., Bianchi, G., Borghi, L., Caione, P., Carini, M., Caudarella, R., Ferraro, M., Gambaro, G., Gelosa, M., Guttilla, A., Illiano, E., Martino, M., Meschi, T., Messa, P., Miano, R., Napodano, G., Nouvenne, A., Rendina, D., … CLU Working Group (2015). Dietary treatment of urinary risk factors for renal stone formation. A review of CLU Working Group. Archivio italiano di urologia, andrologia : organo ufficiale [di] Societa italiana di ecografia urologica e nefrologica87(2), 105–120.
  5. Rahman, B., & Rahman, M. A. (1986). Changes in urinary composition of calcium oxalate stone formers. Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie40(3), 108–110.
  6. Saldana, T. M., Basso, O., Darden, R., & Sandler, D. P. (2007). Carbonated Beverages and Chronic Kidney Disease. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.), 18(4), 501.
  7. Ferraro, P. M., Taylor, E. N., Gambaro, G., & Curhan, G. C. (2013). Soda and other beverages and the risk of kidney stones. Clinical journal of the American Society of Nephrology : CJASN8(8), 1389–1395.
  8. Pucci ND, Marchini GS, Mazzucchi E, Reis ST, Srougi M, Evazian D, Nahas WC. Effect of phyllanthus niruri on metabolic parameters of patients with kidney stone: a perspective for disease prevention. Int Braz J Urol. 2018 Jul-Aug;44(4):758-764. doi: 10.1590/S1677-5538.IBJU.2017.0521. PMID: 29617079; PMCID: PMC6092661.
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