Make it a DIET coke break, for the sake of your kidneys

Diet coke breakNew research published in PLoS One has shown that drinking two or more fizzy drinks a day can double a woman’s chance of developing signs of kidney disease – but only if she drinks full-sugar sodas.

David A Shoham and colleagues studied data from more than 9,000 individuals in the population-based National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999–2004). They found that women who drank two or more cans of soda per day were nearly twice as likely to develop early signs of kidney disease compared with women who consumed fewer sugary soft drinks. Women who drank diet soda were not at increased risk of kidney disease, nor were men.

The rise in diabetes, obesity and kidney disease in the US has paralleled an increase in the use of high fructose corn syrup in American food. High fructose corn syrup is used in particular as a cheap way to sweeten fizzy drinks; thus, the authors investigated whether consumption of soft drinks is associated with albuminuria, a sensitive marker of early kidney damage.

In total, 11% of the sample population were found to have albumnuria, and 17% of the study group drank two or more sugary soft drinks per day. Individuals who drank more than two fizzy drinks a day were 40% more likely to have albuminuria than were participants with a more moderate intake of soda. Consumption of diet soda, however, was not associated with albuminura.

When the authors broke down their results by gender, they found that women who reported drinking two or more sodas in the previous 24 hours were 1.86 times more likely to have albuminuria than were women who drank less soda. Drinking fizzy drinks had no significant effect on the risk of albuminuria in men.

An analysis of type of soda showed that consumption of sugary non-colas was most strongly linked with albuminuria, whereas sugary cola and diet cola and non-cola drinks showed no such association.

The authors conclude that the correlation between drinking sugary sodas and albuminuria indicates that high fructose corn syrup is in part responsible for the increase in kidney disease in the US. According to the National Kidney Foundation, about 26 million American adults have chronic kidney disease.

Dr Shoham, however, has said. “I don’t think there is anything demonic about high fructose corn syrup per se … People are consuming too much sugar. The problem with high fructose corn syrup is that it contributes to over consumption. It’s cheap, it has a long shelf life and it allows you to buy a case of soda for less than $10.”
Shoham DA et al. (2008) Sugary Soda Consumption and Albuminuria: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2004 PLoS ONE 3 (10) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003431

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  1. I’ve also switched to just water and juice. I think I have had a couple of diet drinks on airplanes, but that’s about it.

  2. I agree with the previous poster that said that it would be better to make it a no soda break. I broke a huge Coca-Cola habit and switched to water. It was tough at first, but I’ve benefited from it in so many ways. I’m better hydrated, less insulin swings and healthier in every way.

  3. I drink way too much diet coke, people often tell me I drink too much. But most people who drink coffee (usually with sugar) drink just as much in many cases. I know it is bad for me – I guess I just have a self-destructive personality.

    What I find funny is the website describes the lifestyle benefits of drinking diet coke. For example, water is good for you and diet coke is full of water so diet coke is good for you too.

    Read a 2L bottle in Canada: Coco-Cola Canada – All drinks, including sparkling beverages, hydrate

    Kind of funny they are taking that stance – It’s good for you. Right!

  4. Please change the title to “Make it a NO coke break, for the sake of your health in general”.

    Nothing about soda is good, it’s all bad for your health. The diet vs regular soda debate is just a spin to keep people buying POISON.

    People, wake up, they’re turning you into sugar addicts so they can make profits. They don’t care if you get obese, if you get osteoporosis, if you get cancer or if you get kidney failure. They just want your money. Please, for the sake of all humanity, stop buying soda!

  5. I’mna wag it around re correlation != causation. From the headline here, a dude could think this was an interventional study corroborating two others.

  6. Are you willing to take bets on how long it’ll be before the anti-artificial-sweetener crowd comes in to call you a shill or something else equally stupid? Or before the self-righteous “stupid sheeple drinking sugar water” crowd comes in to wag their fingers?

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