Health Considerations And Potential Side Effects
The artificial colors and sweeteners used in most varieties of Crystal Light, including Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, aspartame, sucralose, and stevia, have sparked some controversy among consumers.
While the Food and Drug Administration declares these ingredients generally recognized as safe, some health experts say theres not enough long-term evidence to comfortably say theyre risk-free for everyone.
In fact, some studies have suggested that artificial colors in foods and drinks may be linked to allergic reactions, behavioral problems in children, and even autoimmune disorders (
The most controversial ingredients in Crystal Light are artificial colors and sweeteners. While the FDA generally recognizes them as safe, some claim aspartame, sucralose, stevia, and artificial colors lack long-term evidence and may have adverse effects.
Diet And Kidney Stones
But lemonade alone isn’t the answer to kidney stones. It’s only part of a stone-preventing diet.
“First, you should reduce the amount of salt in the diet,” Stoller says. “Get rid of the salt shaker at the table. Use a potassium-based salt substitute. If you have a choice of two products, go to the one with less salt. Eat out less — restaurant food is salty — and never salt your food before tasting it.”
Second on Stoller’s stone-prevention diet is eating smaller portions of meat and fish at each meal.
“We are not saying to eat less meat, just eat less at individual meals,” he says.
Third, increase fluid intake to where one is passing 1.5 to 2 liters of urine each day.
“Where does lemonade fit in? If you drink and enjoy lemonade, it gives you an additional benefit,” Stoller says.
It Can Contain Artificial Colors
If you read the ingredients on a food’s Nutrition Facts Label and see listed the name of a color followed by a number, then that particular product uses an artificial color. And, yes, as Healthline notes, some Crystal Light products that use artificial colors like Blue 1, Yellow 5, and Red 40.
Now let’s be clear. The Food and Drug Administration regulates artificial colors and has categorized artificial colors like the three mentioned above as safe under these regulations . That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t concerns about artificial colors. For instance, one 2004 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics found that there does seem to be an association between food dyes and hyperactive behavior in children, though as Healthline notes, other research has suggested that genetic factors may play a role in this reaction, and that children seem to react with varying degrees of sensitivity.
Additionally, there is some concern that certain artificial colors particularly Blue 2 and Red 3 might be carcinogenic . However, more research is needed. The bottom line is we’re still learning about these and other artificial colors.
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Energy Drink Manufacturers Stand
Currently, most manufacturers participate in voluntary and mandatory reporting on the adverse effects of their respective energy drinks.
The current official line from the manufacturers seems to be that insufficient data exist with regards to most ingredients found in major energy drinks and therefore a cause and effect relationship between any energy drink and death/illness cannot be conclusively established.
Follow Up Every Year Thereafter Even If Free Of New Stones
OH, you might say, those urine measurements cost money.
They do, hundreds of dollars for each one.
The merest surgery can cost near to or even above ten thousand dollars when you consider the total of medical, operating room, anesthesia, and pre and postoperative imaging costs, and the inevitable emergency room visits that provoke the surgery in the first place. This is not to mention lost time from work.
And, did I speak about pain, misery, infections?
It it time for blunt talk. Lab measurements are the compass and altimeter. Flying blind is silly.
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Is Crystal Light Bad For You Pros Cons And Faqs
Crystal Light is a brand of beverages that come in a variety of flavors. The drinks have low or no calories and contain zero sugar and fat.
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While it may save you from added sugar, Crystal Light doesn’t contain important nutrients. Here, we look at the pros, the cons and available facts concerning Crystal Light and your health.
Alternatives To Water Flavor Enhancers
As a dietitian who knows all about the importance of drinking water, I have made it a habit to carry my water bottle everywhere with me. That said, I know not everyone loves plain water as much as I do!
Instead of drinking plain olâ water you can try fruit infused water or herbal teas instead for some flavor! One fruit infusion Ive been loving lately is strawberry, basil, and lemon.
Its so refreshing, especially on these hot summer days! Another favorite is mint and lime such a perfect combo.
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Does Adding Mio To Water Still Count As Drinking Water
The short answer is, no. There is no substitute for water and they shouldnt replace plain water. In the case of the new MiO water enhancer, that something is sucralose which is nearly 600 times sweeter than sugar and is also the same ingredient used in Splenda which swirls with health controversy to this day.
Fruit Or Vegetable Juice
Although juice does have lots of vitamins and minerals in it, I dont recommend it. Id much prefer people eat the ACTUAL fruit of vegetable, instead of juicing it and leaving all of that valuable fiber behind.
Even 100% fruit juice has quite a bit of sugar in it. It is easy to consume a lot of sugar in juice form, compared to simply eating actual fruit. One serving of fruit is equivalent to only 4 fluid ounces of fruit juice.
Vegetable juice is packed with sodium. Eating too much salt is one the most common dietary causes of high urine calcium and kidney stones. Even low sodium vegetable juice is pretty high in salt. An 8 fluid ounce serving of V8 vegetable juice has 640mg of sodium. The low sodium version has 140mg of sodium.
Yes, this even includes fresh juices from a fancy juice bar or juice made at home.
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Iced Tea May Cause Kidney Stones
Summer is high season for drinking iced tea. However, a John Miller, Loyla University Medical Center urologist warns that iced tea can contribute to painful kidney stones because of its high concentration of oxalate, one of the key chemicals that lead to the formation of kidney stones.
Around 10% of people in the U.S. suffer from kidney stones, a common disorder of the urinary tract.
Dr. John Milner, assistant professor at the Department of Urology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine explains: 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.
Drinking an insufficient amount of fluids is the most common cause of kidney stones, and during the summer, when people can become dehydrated from sweating, the combined effect of dehydration together with drinking a lot of iced tea can raise the chance of developing kidney stones, particular in those already at risk.
People are told that in the summertime they should drink more fluids. 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.
Even though hot tea also contains oxalate, Milner said that it is difficult to drink sufficient amounts to cause kidney stones and figures from the Tea Association of the USA reveal that around 85% of tea consumed in the United States is iced.
Are Liquid Water Enhancers A Healthy Option
Most of us know we should be drinking more water. But when thirst kicks in, maybe were craving the flavor of a sports drink instead, or the afternoon caffeine boost of a soda.
Thats where liquid water enhancers come in, a relatively new player in the market that some experts see as a $1 billion business by 2020.
Weve all seen them, whether in the beverage aisle or maybe the checkout of your local grocery. Made by brands such as Mio, Kool-Aid, Crystal Light, and available in flavors from berry pomegranate to tropical coconut and everything in between, they can turn your ordinary bottle of water into something closer to your favorite sports drink, if not a Tiki bar.
Some, such as Mio Energy, also add caffeine to help give you the lift youre looking for some, such as Mio Fit, boast supplemental vitamins and other health benefits.
So are they beneficial in the long run? To answer that question, said Rachel Wagner, dietitian with St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center, you should consider another: When you add flavor-enhanced water to your diet, what are you replacing?
A lot depends on your motives, Wagner said. If youre someone who never drinks water, then if youre drinking water with Mio or Crystal Light, certainly its better than drinking a pop. But if youre only drinking flavored water, then that might not be the best either.
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Contains Less Than 2% Of Natural And Artificial Flavor
One of the most confusing elements youll find on a food label, natural and artificial flavors can mean a few things. On the surface, natural means the chemical used came from an edible source, and artificial means it came from a inedible source. A lemon peel is an example of a natural edible source, while petroleum could be a source an artificial source. Just because a natural ingredient comes from an edible source doesnt automatically make it better for you, however. This is because artificial ingredients may be safer, as only safety-tested ingredients are used.
According to the FDA, a natural flavor can be derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products whose primary function is flavor, rather than nutrition.
The FDAs definition of an artificial flavor is simply a flavor that is NOT from a natural source . I counted 727 artificial flavors listed on their website.
Because its so hard to tell what you are really getting when you see something with natural and artificial flavors on a label, its best to buy foods with flavors that are spelled out plainly.
Bottom Line: Avoid
Alcoholic Drinks For Kidney Stones
Kidney stones alone are not a reason to completely avoid alcohol. However, a lot of alcohol can cause dehydration if fluids are not replaced. Dehydration can increase kidney stone risk.
It is recommended that everyone limit alcohol to:
- 1 drink per day for women
- 2 drinks per day for men
Always ask your doctor if it is safe for you to drink alcohol.
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Can You Regularly Drink Mio
If MiO fits your budget and flavor preferences, it may be safe to use regularly.
Based on current research, opting for the Stevia-sweetened versions may pose the lowest risks. This is because the health impact of the other artificial sweeteners used Ace-K and sucralose continue to be investigated.
When deciding if MiO is a good fit for you and whether you can drink it daily, your overall diet and health should also be taken into consideration.
Still, keep in mind that the use of MiO is unnecessary. Using this product is not the most natural way to increase your water intake.
How To Increase Your Dietary Citrate
The best way to increase your dietary citrate, without resorting to prescription drugs, is by eating or drinking more citrus fruit or pineapple, or beverages high in citrate. However researchers found that only lemons reduced the risk factors for kidney stone formation, whereas oranges, grapefruit and pineapples did not. The reason: lemons are loaded with potassium citrate. My personal experience confirms the researchers findings, as my first kidney stone formed while I was drinking 12 ounces of orange juice every morning with breakfast.
You may be tempted to drink straight lemon juice, but that is a good way to strip the enamel from your teeth. Be nice to your teeth and dont do it.
So here are two good ways to increase your dietary citrate:
- Lemon juice with water: 3-6 tablespoons in 2 liters of water per day
- Fake lemonade: Crystal Light, private label, or store brand, 2 liters per day
Both of these have their merits. Lemon juice with water is actually pretty effective, according to some of the health forums that I frequent and in my experience. Some people cant tolerate the tartness. There are a number of store brand and private label fake lemonades that are usually cheaper than Crystal Light. I prefer Fit & Active from Aldis because its the cheapest, but its pretty much the same in my humble opinion. I make mine with distilled water and use 3 liters of water per packet, instead of 2, as I find I can drink more of it when its more like lemon water than lemonade.
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The Problems With Crystal Light
Unfortunately, artificial colors, preservatives, and sweeteners in Crystal Light can be damaging to your health.
For example, take a look at the ingredient label for Crystal Light Classic Orange: citric acid, calcium phosphate, maltodextrin, ascorbic acid , aspartame, maltitol, and less than 2% of: natural flavor, calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, acesulfame potassium , xanthan and cellulose gums, soy lecithin, artificial color, yellow 5, and red 40.
Those are a lot of ingredients in whats supposed to be a healthy beverage mix. In this product alone, there are three different types of sweeteners.
Aspartame is one of the worst offenders.
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A list of the most common symptoms associated with aspartame consumption includes headaches, dizziness, depression, fatigue, irritability, weight gain, rashes, anxiety, memory loss, joint pain, and even the possible loss of taste. A study also found aspartame to be carcinogenic in rodents.
Sucralose is another sweetener found in some Crystal Light drink mix versions. Splenda was once considered a harmless sugar substitute, but now research has uncovered more about its damaging effects.
Why Are Drinks So Important For Kidney Stones
Your doctor has probably told you to drink more about a million times. But, why? Why is it so darn important that you drink a ton if you have kidney stones?
The answer comes down to diluting your urine. Or, making your urine less concentrated.
Kidney stones are made when your urine to too concentrated with certain minerals and other substances. The most common kidney stone making molecules are calcium and oxalate. When calcium and/or oxalate get too concentrated, they are more likely to bind and form a kidney stone. This is exactly what we want to avoid!
The most effective way to make your urine less concentrated is to drink more fluids! When you drink more, you will make more urine. This gives all those molecules more room to float around, and makes them less likely to bind and form kidney stones.
Bottom line. Drink more to make more urine and reduce the chances of more kidney stones!
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Lemonade Made With Sugar
Lemonade is unfortunately often recommended for kidney stones. This is likely because of the lemon juice itself is a great source of that stone-inhibiting citrate.
However, the amount of lemon juice and citrate you get from lemonade is minimal. You have to drink an entire 1/2 cup of straight to get 20mEq of citrate.
Importantly, lemonade is usually made with sugar, which increases the risk of kidney stones.
Crystal Light Lemonade* has much more citrate in it compared to regular lemonade. It is sweetened with potassium citrate.
History Of Energy Drinks
If you do not include coffee, , Coca-Cola or Coke might have been the first modern energy/stimulant drink. And thats not just due to the caffeine content, but also because it contained cocaine as an ingredient. It was finally removed in 1903.
Today, energy drinks are ubiquitous and sales have surged. It only takes a quick visit to the neighborhood gas station to figure out how popular they are. Their use has dramatically increased across most age groups. Which, obviously raises questions about these energy drinks health effects.
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How To Tell If You Have Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are solid, often jagged, or even smooth-shaped, masses or crystals made of minerals and salts that form in your urinary tract.
Kidney stones can be caused by several factors like dehydration, diet, medical conditions, medications or genetics. There are different types of stones, too, like calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate, uric acid and struvite. Calcium oxalate is the most common kind, making up about 70% of stones.
Those types of stones, along with others less common are not dissolvable, says Loboda.
The most common symptom of kidney stones is pain in your back, abdomen or your side. Other symptoms include:
- The need to urinate more often.
- Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy.
- Fevers or chills.
These symptoms typically occur when the stone moves out of the kidney, says Loboda. Stones that are within the kidneys generally dont cause pain. The pain occurs when they begin to migrate out of the kidney and cause blockage.
So, if you cant dissolve your kidney stones, what can you do?
Work on prevention, advises Loboda. A few lifestyle changes can help decrease the risk of forming more stones in the future.