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Acidic foods, soda and high fructose corn syrup bad for kidney health

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Soda Drink

Soft drink consumption has been highlighted extensively in the past two years for its deleterious effect on health. Two new studies suggest how sugar and soda can harm the kidneys that are important organs for filtering toxins from the body.

Findings presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology found high fructose corn syrup - that seems to be added to almost everything - causes salt to be reabsorbed in the body that can lead to high blood pressure.

Hypertension is a known major risk for kidney disease and kidney failure that happens over time.

The finding comes from Agustin Gonzalez-Vicente (Case Western Reserve University) and colleagues who made the discovery in rat studies.

Moderate consumption of high fructose corn syrup increases the body's sensitivity to angiotension II - an important protein that regulates salt. The finding could help explain why high fructose corn syrup contributes to type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure and ultimately kidney disease.

How soda ruins our kidneys

Researchers also say drinking even two sodas a day can raise the risk of proteinuria – the medical term used when the kidney filters begin to fail allowing high amounts of protein to be excreted in the urine.

One of the tests given to people with diabetes is regular screening for proteinuria that helps clinicians detect early signs of kidney disease.

The abstract, titled “Soft Drink Intake and Prediction of Proteinuria: A retrospective Cohort Study” was led by Ryohei Yamamoto, MD, PhD (Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, in Japan).

Researchers followed 3579, 3055, and 1342 university employees for almost three years, all of whom had normal kidney function at the start of the study. Study participants reported whether they drank zero, one, two or more soft drinks a day.

After 2.9 years 301 (8.4%), 272 (8.9%) and 144 (10.7%) employees developed proteinuria that signals kidney damage; linked to drinking two or more sodas a day.

The take home message is again bad for soft drinks and sodas that have no nutritional value and have already been implicated for rising rates of obesity, onset of type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and more.

High fructose corn syrup linked to poor kidney health

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High fructose corn syrup consumption has clearly paralleled rising rates of obesity. Most experts agree there is still controversy about the sweetener and not enough evidence to say there are health risks.

The new finding suggests sodas and high fructose corn syrup just might ruin your kidneys over time. Symptoms of kidney disease are difficult to detect, making it important to see your doctor for regular checkups.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), most Americans have no idea they have kidney or renal disease until it’s too late.

Diabetes, heart disease and a family history of kidney disease are risk factors. It’s important to know that kidney disease is progressive and cannot be reversed.

A 2009 study that included 3,256 women already participating in the Nurses' Health Study found double the risk for kidney health decline from drinking two or more diet sodas a day.

The combination of studies are important for anyone, but especially for people with diabetes and high blood pressure who are already at risk for kidney disease.

What helps if you already have kidney disease?

In a separate study presentation, researchers found eating alkaline foods could help slow down the progression of kidney disease.

Eliminating acidic foods meat and wheat flour products and replacing them with plenty of fruits and vegetables had a "profound" effect on kidney health caused from high blood pressure.'

In a study led by Nimrit Goraya, MD (Texas A&M College of Medicine), patients given extra fruits and vegetables had stable kidney function after one year. Those not given the dietary intervention had increased injury to the kidneys.

If you consume two or more soft drinks a day and consume sweets with high fructose corn syrup, speak with your doctor about a blood and urine test that are simple to perform.

Preserving kidney health that normally declines with aging could be as simple as eliminating soda, cutting back on salt, drinking plenty of water if you are currently in good health and cutting back on sugar intake. Other diet considerations for people with kidney disease include eating fruits and vegetables and eliminating acid producing foods.


Image credit: Pixabay