While diet soda is a better choice than full-sugar drinks, they aren’t free of health risks. A new study has found that anything more than one diet soda a day may increase one’s risk of decreased kidney function.
The study was conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. They examined the effects of sodium and artificial sweeteners on kidney function among 3,256 women with a median age of 67. The women filled out a questionnaire about their soda drinking habits.
When the researchers compared the women’s kidney function, they found that 372 had a decline of 30 percent or more in kidney function. Further analysis revealed that the decline was associated with drinking two or more artificially sweetened soft drinks a day.
The researchers also took into consideration the person’s age, physical activity, high blood pressure, or if they had diabetes.
Diet drinks are “generally low in important health-promoting nutrients, so keeping them as a small part of your eating plan would be a smart step,” says Dr. Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition for Washington University, St. Louis.
In 2006, a panel of experts was assembled by Dr. Barry Popkin, director of the University of North Carolina Interdisciplinary Obesity Program. The group published a “Beverage Guidance System,” that recommended people drink more water and limit or even eliminate high-calorie beverages with little or no nutritional value. The panel emphasized that kids need to drink more milk. “Fortified soy milk is a good alternative for individuals who prefer not to consume cow milk,” the panel stated.