Sugar-laden drinks, fruit juices, beer and even tea can increase your risk of kidney disease, a study has found.
Fizzy and sweetened fruit drinks are the main culprit. Researchers say people who regularly drink them face a 61 per cent higher risk.
However, their findings also showed that beer and even tea were also associated with greater odds of kidney disease.
Scientists did not explain exactly why beer, established to be harmful to health in large quantities, poses a risk to the kidneys.
But they did say the sugar in the other drinks may lead to weight gain, high blood pressure and insulin resistance over time.
This could then gradually put stress on the kidney and ‘accelerate’ the loss of the organ’s function, experts have said.
There are approximately 40,000 to 45,000 premature deaths each year in the UK due to chronic kidney disease, according to the NHS.
In the US, the overall prevalence in the general population is approximately 14 per cent, with high blood pressure and diabetes as the main causes.
The Johns Hopkins University study examined survey data on drink consumption among 3,003 African-American men and women.
Figures show that African-American people are more likely to have kidney disease than Caucasians.
The participants were 54 years old on average and didn’t have kidney disease.
But after following the participants for an average of eight years, six per cent of people (185) had developed kidney disease.
Their likening for sweet drinks – sodas and fruit juices – were mainly to blame, after researchers accounted for factors that can contribute to kidney damage such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and a lack of exercise.
The researchers, led by Dr Casey Rebholz, decided to look deeper into the individual drinks.
Taken on its own, soda was associated with a nine per cent higher risk of kidney disease.
Researchers identified four patterns of beverage consumption, with each pattern including three drinks in order of most drank to least drank.
For example, one pattern was included citrus juice (consumed the most), other fruit juice (consumed second-most) and vegetable juice (the least amount).
Flavoured water was tied to a higher risk – after analysis, soda, sweetened fruit juices and water, in that order, was the pattern most associated with kidney disease.
The team said in the report, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, that these results were ‘surprising’.
It could be possible that participants wrote ‘water’ down on their questionnaires, when in fact, it was still a flavoured drink.
‘There are a number of different types of water which have a ‘health halo’, which are advertised as being healthy but have not been proven to have health benefits,’ the team said.
The researchers also didn’t take note of what brands people drank more, and knowing the sugar and calorie content would have given further insight into the risks.
Dr Rebholz told Reuters: ‘It is widely recognized that sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda and sweetened fruit drinks, should be avoided in order to reduce one’s risk of developing chronic diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.’
‘These findings add to the body of literature on the adverse health effects of sugar-sweetened beverages and support recommendations to avoid their consumption,’
Previous research has linked high consumption of sugar sweetened beverages to a risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and gout.
Although studies, such as this one, have shown sugar-sweetened drinks influence kidney disease risk, the results have been inconsistent.
‘High sugar of any kind can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance and elevated blood pressure,’ Dr Holly Kramer of Loyola University Chicago told Reuters.
‘These factors then put stress on the kidney and can accelerate loss of kidney function over time.’
WHAT IS CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE AND HOW CAN YOU SPOT IT?
Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also called chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function.
Our kidneys filter out waste products and excess fluids from the blood before they are excreted through urine. They also help maintain blood pressure.
As CKD advances, the kidneys do not function properly and dangerous levels of waste build up in your body.
The risk of CKD increases as you age. It is also more common among Asians and blacks.
CKD does not usually cause any symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage. It can be detected early on via blood and urine tests.
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue and weakness
- Sleep problems
- Changes in how much you urinate
- Decreased mental sharpness
- Muscle twitches and cramps
- Swelling of feet and ankles
- Persistent itching
- Chest pain, if fluid builds up around the lining of the heart
- Shortness of breath, if fluid builds up in the lungs
- High blood pressure that is difficult to control
Those with the condition have a greater risk of having a stroke or heart attack. It can also cause kidney failure, when sufferers will need to have dialysis or a possible transplant.
However, lifestyle changes and medication can stop the disease from getting worse if it is diagnosed at an early stage.
To reduce your risk:
- Follow instructions for over-the-counter medications. Taking too many pain relievers can lead to kidney damage
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Don’t smoke. Smoking cigarettes can cause kidney damage
Source: Mayo Clinic