Sodas are known by many names across the globe; they come in many packages, flavors, and colors. However, whether they are called “carbonated drinks”, “pops”, “soft drinks”, or “fizzy drinks”, they all have the same basic formula: carbonated water, sweeteners, and flavorings. This simple formula has facilitated the creation of a wide variety of sodas; they are some of the most popular drinks in the world.
Experts in the United States and many other countries have shown concern about the popularity of sodas. They have conducted decades of research on this subject; researchers have performed and published hundreds of studies in the last two decades alone. Many of these demonstrate a link between soda consumption and diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
Recent Findings on Soda Consumption and Kidney Disease
Several experts have found links between soda drinking and kidney disease. Soda consumers might question these findings, or even disregard them outright. However, these studies have caught the attention of the news media and health professionals – especially those who specialize in kidney disease treatment. These health professionals take studies like these seriously; if you are concerned about your kidney health, you should do so, as well.
In a recent Japanese study, researchers observed the effects of soda consumption on several thousand corporate employees. These people were divided into three groups: those that had just one soda a day, those that had two or more sodas a day, and those that did not drink sodas. These people were given regular checkups over a three-year period. Researchers found that 11 percent of people who consumed two or more sodas a day developed “proteinuria” (high levels of protein in the urine). Proteinuria is a known risk factor for (and sign of) kidney disease.
In another study, researchers examined the health, diets, and lifestyles of nurses over a thirty-year period. As expected, nurses with high-sodium diets had greater kidney damage than others. However, researchers were surprised to find that those who drank two or more diet sodas a day showed a 30 percent less kidney function than those who consumed less. This suggests a possible link between diet soda and kidney disease.
How True Are These Studies?
Based on these studies, some media outlets claim that soda drinking leads directly to kidney disease. They may have misunderstood these studies; they may also have intentionally sensationalized these findings and misinterpreted their results to attract attention to their news reports.
The truth is, no reputable researchers have made definite claims or statements about a direct link between soda drinking and kidney disease. Instead, they show a possible link between these factors. Remember –many of these studies, like the two examples above, are often relatively limited in scope. These researchers could not control the diets and lifestyles of their test subjects. These limitations prevented researchers from making definitive claims about soda consumption and kidney disease. However, these studies do demonstrate a need for more research on this subject.
Should You Avoid Sodas?
This is a very important question health-conscious people – especially those at risk of kidney disease. Medical researchers have found clear links between sugar consumption and diseases such as diabetes and obesity; both of these conditions increase your risk of developing kidney disease. High-sodium diets also cause kidney damage over time; certain soda recipes do contain high amounts of salt.
Because of this, most health professionals prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to their patient’s health. This is especially true for patients who are already at risk of (or have already been diagnosed with) kidney disease. These people avoid any products (including sodas) that could further exacerbate their kidney damage.
Upcoming Research on Sodas and Kidney Disease
Many researchers are currently conducting studies on how sodas affect our kidney health. The studies mentioned in this article are only a first step in understanding this subject; medical science has much to learn before making any firm conclusions. As more studies are complete, we will learn more about how sodas affect our health and make better-informed decisions about our diets and lifestyles.