High consumption of soda and fruit juices may increase an individual’s risk of developing chronic kidney disease, according to the findings of a new study.
Researchers with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that those who consumed high amounts of sweet drinks were almost two-thirds more likely to develop chronic kidney disease than those who did not. The findings were published in the December 2018 issue of the Clinical Journal of American Society of Nephrology.
The investigators said there is a lack of information regarding the health effects of many beverages that are widely available in the food supply, such as soda, fruit juice, and sugar sweetened drinks. However, the researchers noted that previous studies into the side effects on kidneys have been inconsistent, though they have pointed to a possible kidney disease risk.
In this latest study, researchers looked at data on participants from the Jackson Heart Study, which included 3,000 black men and women in Jackson, Mississippi. Using a food frequency questionnaire, they assessed participants’ beverage intake from 2000 to 2004. They also observed the health of the participants from 2008 to 2013.
Overall, 185 participants developed kidney disease over an average of eight years. This is the equivalent of six percent of the study’s participants. Those who consumed higher amounts of soda or sugar sweetened drinks or fruit juices had a 61 percent increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease, compared to those who drank less of those types of beverages.
Researchers also noted higher consumption of water was linked to an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease. However, researchers noted there was no information provided on the questionnaires as to what type of water participants drank, such as flavored or sweetened water.
Chronic kidney disease involves a gradual loss of renal function. The kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from the blood. However, kidney disease can effect a person’s hydration, electrolytes and wastes, allowing fluid to build up in the body. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, sleep problems, cramps, chest pain, and high blood pressure. The disease can progress and become fatal.
Study authors said there was a cultural resistance to reducing sugar sweetened beverages, similar to the cultural resistance seen during the 1960s when smoking cessation was advocated before it was considered a medical problem. At the time it was seen as a social choice, instead of a health issue.
Researchers hope the findings of the study will lead to policies that help consumers reduce the consumption of beverages high in sugar.