New 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