Diet Sodas: They’re Hard on Your Kidneys and Beyond

Kidney Failure
According to a new study, diet sodas double the risk of kidney failure. Women who consumed two or more diet sodas a day suffered from 30 percent decline of kidney function. This is according to the study presented in the American Society of Nephrology in San Diego on October 31, 2009.

In the study, 3,256 women submitted dietary information which included intake of sugary beverages such as soda, fruit juices, punch, and iced tea. The 30 percent decline was found among women who consumed two or more artificially sweetened sodas per day. The finding was same even with the women’s varying factors like age, blood pressure, level of physical activity, and medical conditions such as diabetes.

The results were due to the fact that the chemicals in diet sodas hampered the kidney’s ability to filter blood effectively. They also contribute to increased kidney scarring, which can lead to serious damage over time. Manufacturers of artificially sweetened beverages claim that these are the healthier alternatives to regular soda. But the artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas can do more harm than good.

Apart from the kidney damage that they contribute to, they also trigger the high levels of insulin which promote fat storage. Ironically, diet sodas promoted increased risk of obesity. This was found true by a 2005 study by the University of Texas Health Center. It revealed that people who drink two diet pops a day increased their risk of obesity by a staggering 57.1 percent.
There are varied theories as to how this can happen. Some believe that people who drink diet soda are given a “free pass” to consume foods that are high in calories, and this causes the weight gain. Another common belief is that the sweet taste from the artificial sweetener confuses the digestive system, making it think that there are incoming high caloric foods. This causes appetite increase that leads to gaining weight.

Dental Problems
Diet soda also causes damage to the tooth enamel. It doesn’t have sugar but it does have acid that destroys the tooth enamel, which is the main protection of the teeth against decay. This is why, those who drink soda often are prone to tooth decay and other dental problems. Darker colas contain more phosphoric acid than lighter sodas. Citric acid in diet sodas also damages the tooth enamel like the phosphoric acid. Using straw to sip the soda may minimize the harmful effects of soda acid on your teeth but not completely get rid of them.

Bone Loss
Finally, diet soda has also been linked to bone loss. The phosphoric acid is the culprit once more. This causes the calcium to be excreted more easily through the urine, preventing the bones from getting the calcium it needs to remain strong and healthy.

Alternatives To Diet Sodas
Replacing diet sodas won’t only do your kidneys a big favor but you’ll be helping to improve your overall health. Opt for healthier alternatives like all natural fruit juices and shakes, low fat milk, green tea, and of course, the ever-reliable water.

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