Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Prove Link Between Energy Drinks And Kidney Stones

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Prove Link Between Energy Drinks And Kidney Stones Needs Research

Do energy drinks cause kidney stones? No, that's not true: Dr. Moro Salifu, a medical doctor who specializes in kidney function, told Lead Stories that energy drinks do not cause kidney stones. A photo posted with the claim purports to show kidney stones, implying a link between that condition and the consumption of energy drinks. Salifu said kidney stones such as those shown in the photo would need to be analyzed in a lab to find out what the composition was.

The claim originated from a Facebook post (archived here) where it was published on November 13, 2019. It opened:

Did you know...

😳For every 20 ounce Monster you drink, it takes 6.3 gallons of water to flush it out of your kidneys. The average person drinks 6.3 gallons of water in 23 days.

😳For every 20 ounces of SF Red Bull that you drink, it takes nearly a gallon of water to flush it out of your kidneys. The average person drinks a gallon of water in 2 days. (Many people take a week to consume that amount of water).

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2021-11-29 at 1.44.40 PM.png

Facebook screenshot(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Nov 29 18:21:41 2021 UTC)

Lead Stories debunked an almost identical claim in August 2021. The difference between this claim and the previous one is an additional picture has been added. On the top was an assortment of energy drinks, same as the previous claim, but the new image is a picture purporting to show kidney stones below the energy drinks, making the clear implication that the kidney stones were linked to energy drinks..

Here is what the bottom image looked like at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2021-11-29 at 1.52.14 PM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Nov 29 18:44:54 2021 UTC)

Dr. Salifu, chief of the division of nephrology at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate in Brooklyn, told Lead Stories in an November 24, 2021, email that:

There is no evidence that energy drinks cause kidney stones...Moderation is the answer in diet issues.

Kidney stones come in a variety of chemical compositions and need to be analyzed in a laboratory to tell what the composition is. The picture alone is not enough to commit to a type of stone.

We have also reached out to Red Bull and Monster Energy for a comment on this claim. We will update this story if we receive a response.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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