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Updated: May 10, 2019

Kidney stones are small -- usually between the size of a kernel of corn and a grain of salt. When your body has too much of certain minerals, and at the same time doesn’t have enough liquid, these pebble-like objects can form.

The stones can be brown or yellow, and smooth or rough. Both men and women can get kidney stones, but men’s chances of getting them are about double that of women’s.


It’s often hard to figure out the reason you got a kidney stone. But they are created when your urine has high levels of certain minerals. These include:

calcium oxalateuric acid

Think about stirring up your favorite drink from a powder mix. If you don’t add enough liquid -- say, water or juice -- the powder will clump up and turn into hard, dry chunks.

Similarly, if you don’t have enough urine in your body to water down the high concentration of minerals, stones can form.


1) Drink lots of water: On an average, a person must be drinking at least 3 liters of water every day. If you live in a more hot and humid climate, your water intake must be even more than that, so that on an average, 2.5 liters of urine is passed throughout the day, which decreases the chance of unnecessary retention of minerals from the urine and release them more easily from the body.

2) Continue eating foods rich in calcium: It is a common misconception that calcium accelerates the formation of kidney stones. Calcium is digested by the intestine, only excess calcium cannot be digested by the intestine and is sent to the kidney. Continue consuming calcium rich foods unless your doctor prescribes you against it. Make sure your diet includes enough dairy products such as milk, cheeses, etc., or other calcium rich foods, such as oats and broccoli.

3) Limit intake of oxalic acid: Oxalic acid is mostly found in foods obtained from plants. It restricts the absorption of calcium in the intestines and as a result, more calcium is passed into the kidneys; thus, forming calcium oxalate, or oxalate stones. Try to avoid foods, such as rhubarb, Swiss chard, nuts, tea, sweet potatoes, etc.;mainly leguminous plant products.

4) Decrease the ingestion of sodium salts, sugar and meat protein : Salts and sugars, mainly found in packaged foods are used to prevent them from expiring. They increase the release of calcium and oxalates into the blood, which thus increases the chance to develop kidney stones. Meat contains fibers which affect certain nutrients in the kidney, thus aggravating the formation of stones.

5) Increase the consumption of insoluble fibers: Insoluble fibers are those rough fibers which are not soluble in water during the process of digestion. They are found in rice, wheat, barely, etc., and are found to decrease calcium absorption in the kidney. They attach themselves to the calcium and oxalates, which enable them to be released as stool instead of urine .Should you have any concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, is a condition that affects the way your body metabolizes its main source of fuel — sugar (glucose).

The body either resists the effects of insulin — a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells — or doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain healthy glucose levels.

There's no cure for type 2 diabetes, but there are ways to lower blood sugar. Help manage your condition by eating well, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and monitoring your blood glucose levels. If diet and exercise don't control your blood sugar, you may need medications or insulin therapy.

Factors that can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes include1:

Age Risk of type 2 diabetes increases with age, especially after 45, because people tend to exercise less and gain weight. Type 2 diabetes is now also increasing among children, adolescents and younger adults because of obesity.

Over Weight

Being overweight is a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes. This is because the more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.

Fat Distribution

If your body stores fat primarily in your abdomen, your risk of type 2 diabetes is greater than if your body stores fat elsewhere.

Inactivity/ Sedentary Lifestyle

The less active you are, the greater your risk. Exercise can impact blood sugar levels. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.

Family History The risk of type 2 diabetes increases if your parent or sibling has it.

Race and Ethnicity Although it's unclear why, people of certain races and ethnicities — including African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic white people.

Pre-diabetes Pre-diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Left untreated, prediabetes may put you at risk to get type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

Women who develop gestational diabetes while pregnant are at greater risk of later developing type 2 diabetes.

If you have questions about your risk for type 2 diabetes, ways to lower blood sugar, how to maintain healthy glucose levels, or the symptoms you're experiencing, talk with your healthcare professional.

Heart Problem

People who have cardiovascular disease or those who have suffered a heart attack are more predisposed towards developing type 2 diabetes.

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Evidences has shown that artificial sweeteners contribute to weight gain, neurological effects and more. In order to help people reduce sugar consumption and lose weight, governments have approved artificial sweeteners in a misguided attempt to improve our health. And even though the evidence overwhelming indicates that fat is beneficial and essential to health, people still have a difficult time giving up their artificial sweeteners. This is a controversial topic among health professionals and consumers, and we know that I am no stranger to controversy. I feel very strongly about this issue and today I want to delve into it and explain some of the reasons why I don't consume artificial sweeteners, and why I don't believe they can be part of a healthy diet.

What Are Artificial Sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners are synthetic chemicals designed to help us lose weight, reduce sugar consumption and manage blood sugar levels. They include:

  • Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)

  • Sucralose (Splenda)

  • Acesulfame K (Sunette, Sweet One)

  • Saccharin (Sweet 'N Low, Sweet Twin)

  • Sugar alcohols (Xylitol, Sorbitol, Mannitol, Isomalt)

The reason these sweeteners are intended for health purposes is because they are anywhere from 200 to 400 times sweeter than sugar, which means a very small amount is needed to add sweetness and they don't have calories or affect blood sugar levels.

However, their safety is questionable, despite the fact that they are approved by governments. Consuming a small amount may seem harmless, but what if you put it in your coffee, chew gum, brush your teeth with conventional toothpaste, have a diet soda, or eat cookies, candies or cereals? What is the collective load of all that?

Dietary Sources of Artificial Sweetener

  • Diet sodas and other low-calorie beverages

  • Condiments (ketchup, salad dressing, etc.)

  • Low-fat yogurt and other dairy

  • Chewable vitamins

  • Toothpaste

  • Breads and crackers

  • Cookies, cakes and other pastries

  • Juice

  • Cereal, granola and granola bars

  • Most products that touted as low-fat, low-calorie and sugar-free

In a nutshell, artificial sweeteners are used in packaged, processed and convenience products and they don't support our health.

How Do Artificial Sweeteners Impact Our Health?

Artificial sweeteners are not food. They are completely synthetic. Any 'food-like' substance or chemical that we put into our body that is not from nature increases the toxic load we carry. Any chemical that makes its home in the cells of our body and hangs out for a while has the potential to damage our DNA. When the DNA of our cells gets all kaleidoscoped and we continue to feed ourselves disease-building processed foods, we don't have what we need to reverse the damage. If our daily activities - which include the food we eat, way we handle stress our activity levels, our digestion and sleep - don't work in our favour to repair DNA, to improve the integrity of our cell membranes and the efficiency of our own elimination pathways (poop, skin, liver, kidneys, lungs) then we are working towards building disease.

Here are some more details about the ways artificial sweeteners impact our health.


As I mentioned earlier, doctors and the public consider artificial sweeteners a calorie-free option and believe that including them in our foods will allow us to lose weight and prevent obesity. "Sweetness decoupled from caloric content offers partial, but not complete, activation of the food reward pathways. Activation of the hedonic component may contribute to increased appetite. Lack of complete satisfaction, likely because of the failure to activate the postingestive component, further fuels the food seeking behavior."

Essentially, what this means is when we have a sweet taste, our brains and bodies expect the calories to come. When they don't, we keep looking for them. With artificial sweeteners, we may momentarily satisfy a sweet craving without spiking our blood sugar, but as a result of this fake out, we may find another craving not too long later as our body was all geared up for a little calorie action from actual food. Artificial sweeteners, therefore, can cause the soda-pop sippers to either keep sipping or keep snacking, both of which are vicious cycles.


There is a body of research, mostly conducted on animals, that indicate artificial sweeteners are linked to tumor growth and cancer development.


Proponents of artificial sweeteners claim that they are perfect for diabetics because they don't impact blood sugar levels. But just like the weight loss claim, this is another 'benefit' that has proven false.


Artificial sweeteners are used in conventional and natural toothpastes to make them taste better without causing damage to our teeth. One could make the argument that xylitol, a sugar alcohol often found in toothpaste and chewing gum, isn't carcinogenic and can help prevent cavities (though xylitol can cause diarrhea in large amounts, and don't give it to your dog because it's toxic to them).

"By far the biggest use of sugar substitutes is made without concern for teeth or gums." Most artificial sweeteners are used in diet drinks and other low-fat, low-calorie treats, which may contain other ingredients that damage our teas citric or phosphoric acid.

Also, dental health isn't just about what comes directly in contact with our teeth or what Artificially-sweetened key lime pie yogurt just isn't a food that I would consider an important part of the dental health picture.


There is an extensive array of ways that artificial sweeteners may impact our health. Investigations show they can also:

  • Cause neurotoxicity and neurological symptoms

  • Lead to kidney decline

  • Trigger migraines

  • Cause DNA damage

  • May accelerate ageing

  • Affect our ability to learn and emotional functions

Alternatives to Artificial Sweeteners

There are so many whole food options that we can use instead of artificial sweeteners.

If sugar isn't an issue for you, I'd recommend small amounts of the following:

  • Raw Honey: This superfood is packed with enzymes, amino acids and antioxidants. It's also great for your natural first aid kit.

  • Maple Syrup: A Canadian staple, maple syrup is rich in antioxidants and minerals like zinc, calcium and manganese.

  • Coconut Sugar/Syrup: These are tapped from the coconut palm tree and are low on the glycemic index.

  • Molasses: Molasses is a by-product of refining cane sugar, but unlike processed sugar, it is full of nutrients such as iron, magnesium and potassium.

  • Apple sauce: The pectin in apples helps with binding in gluten free baking, plus they are rich in antioxidants and fibre.

  • Dates/Dried Fruit: Make date paste by soaking dates in water and then blending them up. You can do this with a variety of dried fruits and change the consistency of the paste to be how you like it. Or you can eat a small amount of dried fruits as a snack.

  • Bananas: Mashed bananas are fantastic in baked goods and add extra fibre and potassium.

  • Sweet veggies, like carrots, beets and bell peppers: These will give you a sweet taste and provide you with antioxidants and compounds that support the liver.

  • Fresh fruit of all kinds: A fresh apple is very sweet! But when we eat a lot of sugar, we get de-sensitized to the natural sweetness of fruit. Fruit offers us sweetness, but also a range of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Aim for low-glycemic fruits if blood sugar is an issue.

If there is an issue with blood sugar in cases of Type I or Type II Diabetes, give the following a try in moderate amounts:

  • Stevia: This plant is actually much, much sweeter than sugar, so you only need to use a small amount of it. Aim to purchase green powdered stevia, as that is the plant that's been dried and ground. Clear stevia extract has gone through much more processing and is further removed from the whole food.

  • Xylitol: This sweetener is from the family of sugar alcohols, which are growing in popularity. Xylitol is naturally found in fruits and vegetables, but it's often extracted from birch wood. It can help with dental caries and balancing blood sugar. In large amounts, it can cause bloating and diarrhea - and it's toxic for your pooches.

  • Monk Fruit: This is a very low-glycemic option that is made from monk fruit. In the powdered form, it's 150 times sweeter than sugar so you certainly don't need to use a lot of it.

  • Erythritol: This is another sugar alcohol and like xylitol, erythritol can help prevent cavities and balance blood sugar. Don't consume too much, as it can also cause digestive upset. Most erythritol is derived from corn, so ensure you use a brand that is non GMO

And if you're not ready to give up sugar, please consider dropping artificial sweeteners from your life. You have nothing to lose and only better health to gain.

Neha Rai (Weight & Lifestyle Management Consultant)

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