I know firsthand the horrific pain of kidney stones. Those who have never had one, count yourself blessed, and pay attention to the new guidelines out from The American College of Physicians.

How do you prevent them? It’s as simple as filling up the water bottle. No, you can’t just buy a water bottle and fill it with Mountain Dew. You have to actually drink more water. My personal horror story came after drinking Dublin Dr. Peppers nonstop. Woke up one morning and knew from my brother’s recent stone I was in trouble. How much? It took six weeks and two procedures to get it resolved. Fun times.

So, we know that water helps prevent them. But what’s the magic number? It should be enough to generate two liters of urine per day. Anything from tap water to mineral waters will suffice.

“Increased fluid intake spread throughout the day can decrease stone recurrence by at least half with virtually no side effects,” David Fleming, president of the ACP said in a release.

Of course soda gets dinged in this release. People should avoid the cases of soda as much as possible in favor of water. Drinking them has been linked to a recurrence of the problem. There are other dietary recommendations.

If you are a past sufferer, you should cut your intake of animal protein, chocolate, beets, nuts, rhubarb, strawberries, spinach, tea and wheat bran. Well, I got the beets covered. Never had them, and was never planning on going to a buffet filled with them.

All the items above contain dietary oxalate, which combines with calcium to form kidney stones.

Kidney stones are common in the United States. Out of the entire population, 13 percent of men and 7 percent of women will develop one in their lifetime. Without treating the root cause, studies show that between 35 and 55 percent will have another within five years. Not exactly betting odds.

The takeaway? Prepare to drink a lot more water. All kidney stone sufferers agree, you do not want to be in one of the percentage categories.

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