Just about every week, it seems, a new study warns of the potential health risks of consuming soda and excess sugar. Sugar and soda has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, certain types of cancer, and now poor kidney function.
In one study this week, nearly 8 000 participants with normal kidney function were examined by researchers from Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine. The results of the study showed participants who drank two sodas per day had a much higher chance of developing proteinuria, an important laboratory indicator of kidney dysfunction and disease.
In a second study, researchers from Case Western Reserve University analysed the effects of fructose consumption on kidney function in rats. They found fructose consumption affected kidney sensitivity to a protein that regulates salt in the body. This sensitivity helps to explain the complex inter-relationships between high blood pressure, heart attack, kidney failure and weight gain.
Drinking one or more cans of soda a day is also an independent indicator of one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. One in every five is at an elevated risk of diabetes with as little as one can per day according to statistics published in the journal Diabetologia.
Recent research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation found men who drank one sugar-sweetened beverage per day had a 20% higher risk of suffering a heart attack.
Research has also linked eating processed sugar and drinking soda to pancreatic cancer, metabolic syndrome, gout and obesity. Drinking two sodas per week increases the risk of pancreatic cancer by 87% according to the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
One soda per day increases one’s risk of metabolic syndrome by 44% and a child’s risk of becoming obese by 60%. Drinking two sodas per day increases the risk of gout by 85% according to researchers at Boston University School of Medicine.
Soda often contains high amounts of caffeine, a leading cause of dehydration. Water makes up about 60% of one’s body weight. Obesity has been shown to decrease the percentage of water in the body, sometimes to as low as 45%. This affects one’s kidneys, heart and immune system.
Genetics was once classified as the primary cause of kidney failure, cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease but the findings of these studies demonstrate that it’s more related to the consumption of soda, sugar and other dietary habits.
Health side effects of diet soda
Diet soda is the constant companion of dieters everywhere, who feel that they’re getting a bargain by getting flavor and hydration, all for zero calories. While diet soda may be free of calories, it’s not free of health side effects. Let’s look at a few of the risks associated with diet soda.
A 2009 Nurses’ Health Study of 3 256 women found a 30% drop in level of kidney function for participants who drank two or more servings of diet pop daily. This means that those who drank at least two cans, bottles or glasses of diet drinks daily had 30% less kidney blood filtering ability than those who drank regular sodas or other drinks. The kidney function decline was noted even when consideration was made of other factors which may have affected participants, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Perhaps surprising, but true: studies have tied diet soda consumption to an increased risk of obesity. In fact, a 2005 University of Texas Health Science Center study found a 57,1% risk of obesity for those drinking more than two daily servings of diet pop.
Tooth enamel damage
Soda is hard on tooth enamel, with the sugar and acid being the most problematic ingredients. Diet soda eliminates the sugar, but not the acid content of pop.
Most of us are familiar enough with acid that we can imagine its impact on our tooth enamel, which is the main barrier our teeth have against decay.
Drinking diet soda can also lead to bone loss. This is because the phosphoric acid in the soda causes calcium in your bloodstream to be excreted more quickly than normal through urine. Your bones then give up some of their calcium in order to keep the bloodstream calcium level constant.