Diet Sodas May Be Hard on the Kidneys

By patch12 Latest Reply 2012-02-05 16:52:00 -0600
Started 2011-03-25 02:26:00 -0500

Women Who Drink 2 or More Diet Sodas Daily Double Their Risk of Kidney Function
WebMD Health News

Diet soda may help keep your calories in check, but drinking two or more diet sodas a day may double your risk of declining kidney function, a new study shows.

Women who drank two or more diet sodas a day had a 30% drop in a measure of kidney function during the lengthy study follow-up, according to research presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology in San Diego.

"Thirty percent is considered significant,'' says researcher Julie Lin, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a staff physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. That's especially true, she says, because most study participants had well-preserved kidney function at the start of the study.

Diet Soda and Kidneys: Study Details
The researchers evaluated 3,256 women already participating in the Nurses' Health Study who had submitted dietary information, including their intake of sugary beverages — sugar-sweetened drinks, sugar-sweetened soda, and artificially sweetened soda. Sugar-sweetened drinks included soda, fruit juices, punch, and iced tea.

Information was also available on measures of kidney function. Their median age was 67.

Lin's team looked at the cumulative average beverage intake, derived from food questionnaires completed in 1984, 1986, and 1990. The women replied whether they drank the beverages less than once a month, one to four times a month, two to six times weekly, once daily but less than twice, or twice a day or more often.

Diet Soda and Kidneys: Study Results

When they looked at the diet information, they found that the 30% decline in kidney function was associated with drinking two or more artificially sweetened sodas a day. This was true even after taking into account factors such as age, high blood pressure, diabetes, and physical activity.

Put another way: the women who drank two or more diet sodas a day had a decline in their glomerular filtration rate, a measure of kidney function, of 3 milliliters per minute per year. ''With natural aging, kidney function declines about 1 mL per minute per year after age 40," Lin says. No link was found with the other beverages. And less than two sodas a day didn't seem to hurt. "We didn't see any association up to two artificially sweetened beverages a day," Lin says.

'A serving was reported as either a glass, a can, or a bottle of a beverage. 'It was not more specific than that.

'The mechanisms aren't clear. In another study higher salt intake is also associated with faster kidney function decline.

About 20 million Americans have some evidence of chronic kidney disease, according to the society. Kidney disease diagnoses have doubled each of the last two decades.

Diet Soda and Kidney Function: Industry Input
Asked to review the study findings, Maureen Storey, senior vice president of science policy for the American Beverage Association, says in a prepared statement: "It's important to remember that this is an abstract presented at an annual meeting." She notes that the research needs further scrutiny by researchers.

She acknowledges that kidney disease is serious but that diabetes and high blood pressure account for the majority of kidney disease cases, ''not consumption of diet soda."

Diet Soda and Kidney Function: Dietitian's View
In reviewing the study, Connie Diekman, RD, director of university nutrition for Washington University, St. Louis, wonders if the link might have come about because of long-term consumption, as many of the participants were older adults.

The link found, she says, "calls for more studies where actual intake can be assessed, rather than taking the information from food frequency questionnaires, which could be subject to mistakes."

Diet drinks, she says, are ''generally low in important health-promoting nutrients, so keeping them as a small part of your eating plan would be a smart step."

12 replies

Yasmina 2011-04-11 10:11:38 -0500 Report

I still think that the best thing to drink for anyone is good, clean, clear, water. If there has to be a flavor added, a slice of lemon, orange, or even lime does wonders. If you need a little sweet, add a little bit of any sweetner of your choice. Not alot, just a little. You can even doll it up with a cherry if you want.

Hopieland 2011-04-02 11:10:50 -0500 Report

I love sodas. Kicked 'em years ago, bot reg & diet, but they taste so good. Been drinking Diet/Caffeine Free Coke lately, but have all but kicked that habit again. I wonder if we D's have a need to indulge or something. Sugar in any form IS addicting. I was addicted to diet coke for a few years, for sure. I can relate to BigMomma10…McD's, Starbucks, and others tempt me so strong sometimes, but I just don't like the idea of having serious health problems later in life, or anytime in life. What is so strong about the tastes of no-no foods & beverages for us??? Big Momma…300-400 IS scary. It's not too late for your kidney if you can bring yourself around to changing some of your eating habits. If not, you may end up on dialysis and that is permanent and not fun. Comfort foods are costly to us with D and we know it…but like you, I struggle with them. What can we do to help you turn around somehow?

big momma 10
big momma 10 2011-04-02 10:22:20 -0500 Report

I use to drink alot of soda especially coke from the time I was a kid. I still drink them every now and then. I dont like diet soda. But I do drink sweet tea from MickeyD. And I am trying to stop that. My Docyors have told me that my kidney has detorated? real bad. I am so scare, because I love salty food and sweet. I know I dont eat right at all. all this week my sugar has been in the 300-400. I still feel like I dont get. Didnt mean to go on and on, is their anyone here that feel like me. I have quite a bit going on with me. and I am just floored sometime. Hinboyz3 I am so glad you was able to do what needed to be done(simile)

jayabee52 2011-04-02 11:24:04 -0500 Report

Dear Gaynell

Dialysis is NO FUN! (I got off Dialysis, but I was fortunate — most who are on dialysis either get a transplant or are there till they die)

Take care of your kidneys and the way you eat!

BG#s of 300 - 400 is very SCAREY!

What are doing to try to control your diabetes?

What are you eating for a typical day's meals, and when?

Perhaps you can get it tackled!

I know it's hard, I am walking the walk too! I didn't have an easy time either but I tell you: it is WORTH IT!

Praying for blessings for you!


Hinboyz3 2011-04-02 07:18:59 -0500 Report

I gave up the sodas cold turkey a couple of years ago, after having a upper GI which I was told I would have to repeat yearly, so that did it for me. But theirs nothing like a cold Pepsi, but no more it started to cause problems!!

GabbyPA 2011-03-25 06:11:36 -0500 Report

I would love to see a study done on the connection of the artificial sweeteners in diet soda and the link to kidney disease. Those are the culprits if you ask me. That is why I no longer drink diet sodas, or pretty much soda at all any more.

Nana Jt
Nana Jt 2011-04-01 20:31:10 -0500 Report

With as much artificial sweeteners I use I'd like to see that study too. I use it in coffee, tea and juices that I occasionally use.

Darlene51 2011-08-31 21:05:55 -0500 Report

I use steveia for a sweetener. I had to get use to it but now I like it. I don't keep soda in the house. I would drink a lot if I had it around.