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Originally published February 11 2009

Drinking Soda Pop Doubles Risk of Kidney Disease

by Sherry Baker, Health Sciences Editor

(NaturalNews) Maybe you eat a fairly healthy diet most of the time, so you might assume indulging in two or more cans of your favorite soda pop every day can't be too bad for you. But, especially if you are a woman, you could be setting yourself up for kidney disease. Researchers from Loyola University Health System say they've found out that women who drink at least two cans of soda pop a day are nearly twice as likely to show early signs of kidney disease as those who don't drink that many sodas.

For the study just published in PLoS ONE, a peer-reviewed journal of science and medical research produced by the Public Library of Science, Loyola scientists examined data from a representative sample of 9,358 U.S. adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey( NHANES). The NHANES participants gave urine samples and also filled out questionnaires about their dietary habits.

Women who said they drank two or more sodas in the 24 hours before the urine test were 1.86 times more likely to have albuminuria, an excess amount of a protein called albumin, in their urine. This was a warning flag to the researchers because healthy kidneys should filter out large molecules like albumin. That means an excess amount of albumin can be a sign of early kidney damage.

So what causes this link between fizzy sweet drinks and kidney damage? In a statement to the media, David Shoham, assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology at Loyola, said that additional studies are needed to find out. But there are some clues. "People are consuming too much sugar. The problem with high fructose corn syrup (in soda pop) is that it contributes to over consumption. It's cheap, it has a long shelf life and it allows you to buy a case of soda for less than $10," stated Shoham, who headed the research team.

What's more, there could be something in the high fructose corn syrup that's particularly damaging to women's kidneys. A study by other scientists, recently published in the journal Environmental Health, found that nine of 20 commercial samples of high fructose corn syrup from three manufacturers were contaminated with measurable levels of mercury. "This adds the intriguing possibility that it is not just the sugar itself in high fructose corn syrup that is harmful, because mercury is harmful to kidneys as well," Shoham noted in the media statement.

Chronic kidney disease is a major health problem in the U.S. According to the National Kidney Foundation, approximately 26 million American adults have chronic kidney disease. When the disease is advanced, it causes symptoms such as fatigue, poor appetite, trouble sleeping, inability to concentrate and swollen feet.

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About the author

Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA's "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic's "Men's Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.

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