So, once again something you happily and regularly ingest (especially on such sweltering August days as these) could be really, really bad for you. What's the secret toxic substance today? Iced tea! Aw, come on! Really?! Is there literally nothing left for human beings to eat/drink without having to worry about some dire health consequence?
Well, that depends. (Doesn't it always?) Here's the deal with iced tea (which, by the way, has been my beverage of choice for, oh, 15 or 20 years and I'm obviously still alive): According to a new study (for the love of god, researcher-types, stop studying everything to death!), people who drink iced tea increase their risk of developing kidney stones. Yup, kidney stones. The ones that make people cry out in pain when they have to pee, you ask? Yup, those are the ones.
It's all got something to do with high levels of oxalate, a chemical that causes your body to form little mineral/salt crystals. These usually harmless crystals are found in urine, which is fine, except sometimes they grow large enough to get stuck in the tiny tubes connecting the kidney to the bladder.
Sounds like a party, right? But it gets better. (No, seriously.) Remember how I said the dire health consequences of iced tea consumption depended on something? Apparently only people who are already prone to kidney stones really have to worry about drinking too much of the stuff.
If you happen to be one of those people, you might want to monitor your intake of other high-oxalate foods, too (including spinach, chocolate, rhubarb, and nuts), as well as curbing your salt intake and making sure to always get enough calcium. If you don't happen to be one of those people, cheers! I'm sure another startling study will come along in a few days -- maybe one you DO have to worry about!
Have you ever had problems with kidney stones?
Image via Pen Waggener/Flickr