Sugary sodas linked to kidney disease.

Dec 02, 2008

Shoham, DA, R Durazo-Arvizu, H Kramer, A Luke, S Vupputuri, A Kshirsagar and RS Cooper. 2008. Sugary soda consumption and albuminuria: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2004. PLoS ONE 3(10): e3431. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003431.

Synopsis by Martha Susiarjo

Drinking sugary soda is linked to kidney disease, most likely due to the high fructose corn syrup that sweetens the drinks.

People who drink two or more soda drinks per day increase their risk of kidney damage that could lead to kidney disease. The strongest risk was associated with lower weight women and with drinking non-cola sodas.

Underweight women were most at risk. These women had a body mass index (BMI) of 18.7 kg/m2 or less. (BMI is a measure of weight divided by height. Calculate your BMI here.)

No association was found with men, with diet soda or with one serving of sugary soda per day.

The results are based on data recently published in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The potential cause of the association is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). A link between HFCS and kidney disease is of interest among health officers and nutritionists. Kidney disease - along with diabetes and obesity - has been increasing in the US since manufacturers switched to HFCS as a soft drink sweetener more than three decades ago. A severely diseased kidney quits working and fails to remove wastes from the blood, concentrate urine and regulate electrolytes.

In this present study, David Shoham and colleagues studied 10,000 people to examine the association between daily soda intake and the level of protein markers, known as albumin and creatinine, in the subjects' blood. A high ratio of albumin to creatinine is used to detect early development of kidney disease.

The findings strongly suggest that drinking one or less soda's per day does not effect kidney disease progression, while drinking two or more is positively linked to the occurance of renal disease. The type of soda also mattered. Sugary non-cola drinks had the strongest association, while diet sodas were not associated with albumin levels.

The authors' suggest "additional studies are needed to assess whether HFCS itself, overall excess intake of sugar, or unmeasured lifestyle and confounding factors are responsible."