In the food world, there a few items more innocuous than tofu, with its bland color and taste, squishy texture, and low calorie count. In fact, if you could tolerate eating tofu day in day out, most would say you’re living a pretty healthy lifestyle.

But not so fast! It would appear that looks, taste, and generally positive nutritional information can be deceiving. Just ask one 55-year-old tofu-lover who, over time, turned his kidney into a terrarium with about 500 kidney stones inside at once.

The resident of Zhejiang, China resident has had run-ins with kidney stones in the past but had them broken down by ultrasound and passed them out normally. However, in the two years leading up to this incident abdominal discomfort gradually increased for the man.

Nevertheless he continued eating his daily dose of tofu while drinking much less fluids than he should have been. It wasn’t until his pain grew unbearable and he was almost entirely incapable of urinating that he sought medical help.

Medical staff conducted a CT scan which must have revealed something resembling a fruitcake or bag of gravel. Due the danger of blockages these stones possessed surgery was ordered as soon as possible.

A team headed by Dr. Wei went digging and after nearly two hours made a small hospital pan look like something suitable for a pet turtle to frolic in. Dr. Wei said there must have been around 420 stones in the pan. It’s number that the media seems to have clung to considering the “stoned” jokes write themselves.

However, Dr. Wei also mentioned that there were many smaller stones that were removed by vacuum and not included in the counting. In his estimate this would bring the total number to somewhere around 520.

Some readers of the news pointed out that the stones pictured were exceptionally round for kidney stones, which usually have a more frighteningly jagged surface.

It could be that the above image is a bogus one that’s been floating around with the story. There again, perhaps the unusually large number of stones tumbling around inside this patient’s kidney resulted in them becoming smooth and shiny.

Whether true or not, this still serves as a chilling reminder to drink your fluids. But before you go tossing your tofu in the bin remember that they aren’t all created equal: this man was said to have eaten tofu from Dongyang, Zhejiang, which has a higher calcium content that other varieties. Combine that with his daily habit and poor fluid intake and you have the makings for a perfect hailstorm in your gut.

Source: People’s Daily (Chinese), Mail Online, Twitter (English), Itai News (Japanese)
Bottom Image: Wikipedia – RJHall