February 10, 2009

Women drinking soda can up kidney risk

Women who drink two or more cans of soda pop per day are nearly twice as likely to show early signs of kidney disease, a U.S. study said.

However, lead researcher David Shoham of Loyola University Health System said that the study did not find an elevated risk for men, or for people who drink diet soda.

Researchers examined data from a representative sample of 9,358 U.S. adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which included urine samples and a questionnaire about dietary habits.

The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, found women who reported drinking two or more sodas in the previous 24 hours were 1.86 times more likely to have albuminuria, a sensitive marker for early kidney damage.

Albuminuria is an excess amount of a protein called albumin in the urine. Since healthy kidneys filter out large molecules such as albumin, an excess amount can be a sign of damage to the kidneys, Shoham explained.

About 11 percent of the population has albuminuria. Among those who drink two or more cans of soda per day, 17 percent have this early marker of kidney disease, the study found. It's unclear why drinking soda increased the risk only in women, Shoham said.