That Diet Soda Habit Might Be Killing Your Kidneys
If you think you’re doing yourself a favor by drinking diet soda instead of the real deal, think again. It’s true you may be protecting your waistline from empty calories, but new research suggests you may be beating up your kidneys instead.
Over the weekend, researchers from the Nurses’ Health Study in Boston released findings that indicate women who drink two or more diet sodas a day experienced a 30 percent drop in kidney function over the course of a two decades long study. More than 3,000 women participated in the study, the median age being 67. Lead researcher Julie Lin, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says the outcomes were especially startling because the women surveyed all had health kidney function at the start of the research.
After critically analyzing the beverage intake of study participants, researchers found those who drank two or more diet sodas daily had a significant dip in the kidneys’ glomerular filtration rate, which measures kidney function. Natural aging generally results in a decreased filtration rate of about 1 mL per minute per year after age 40. In contrast, the rate of those who consumed diet soda significantly decreased by 3mL per minute per year. The study showed no link between decreased kidney function and other beverages or any decreased function in women who had less than two diet sodas a day.
This doesn’t mean your kidneys are safe, however, if you opt for regular sodas. A study published earlier this year in PLoS ONE, a journal of the Public Library of Science, showed that women drinking two or more cans of regular soda a day are nearly twice as likely to suffer from early signs of kidney disease as non-soda drinkers. Researchers don’t understand the cause for certain but suspect it has to do with the intake of large amounts of high fructose corn syrup.
With some 26 million Americans suffering from chronic kidney disease, it’s obviously become a national health problem. While studies to date on the relationship between kidney function and soda (diet or regular) have been small, they add more fuel to the fire for cutting soda intake, even if you’re a diet drinker. When it comes to your health, water is always the best beverage.