A diet high in sugar can lead to weight gain, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. A new study has found one additional health hazard associated with the consumption of added sugar – kidney stones.

Kidney stone is a painful condition that occurs when hard accumulations of minerals and salts form inside the kidneys or any part of the urinary tract. They are caused by a variety of factors, including dietary choices, obesity, medical conditions and the use of certain supplements and medications.

Common signs include intense lower back pain, the presence of blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting, elevated body temperature and chills and an unpleasant odor or cloudy appearance of urine.

One in 10 people in the U.S. get affected by kidney stones. The rate of recurrence of kidney stones is also high, with around 50% undergoing a second episode within 10 years.

Added sugars are sugars or caloric sweeteners infused during the preparation of food for enhancing flavor or prolonging shelf life. Due to their links to heart diseases, American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the daily average intake to 150 kcal for adult males and 100 kcal for females. Calories from added sugar should be limited to 10% per day, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the latest study, researchers analyzed added sugar consumption of 28,303 adults with a history of kidney stones from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

The findings suggested that people who get more than 25% of their total energy from added sugars are at an 88% higher risk of developing kidney stones when compared to those who get less than 5% of their energy from added sugars.

"Ours is the first study to report an association between added sugar consumption and kidney stones. It suggests that limiting added sugar intake may help to prevent the formation of kidney stones," lead author Shan Yin said in a news release.

"Further studies are needed to explore the association between added sugar and various diseases or pathological conditions in detail. For example, what types of kidney stones are most associated with added sugar intake? How much should we reduce our consumption of added sugars to lower the risk of kidney stone formation? Nevertheless, our findings already offer valuable insights for decision-makers," Yin added.

Steps to prevent kidney stone

1. Maintain hydration - Drink plenty of water to maintain hydration and prevent kidney stones.

2. Include calcium-rich food - Most common kidney stone is a calcium oxalate stone caused by a diet low in calcium. Including low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt in the diet can help to prevent the condition.

3. Cut down on processed food - Processed food is generally high in sodium and increases the risk of kidney stones. To reduce the risk, limit salt intake and consumption of processed food.

4. Limit intake of animal protein - A diet rich in animal protein elevates acidity levels in urine, which potentially lead to the formation of uric acid and calcium oxalate kidney stones.