Negative health consequences of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages


The findings, which appear in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), support the growing body of evidence pointing to the harmful health consequences of consuming sugar-sweetened drinks.

Higher consumption of sweetened fruit beverages, water, and soda was linked to a higher possibility of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD). This community-based study was conducted in Mississippi on African-American adults.

Certain drinks may affect the health of the kidney, but study outcomes have been unpredictable. To provide more precision, researchers prospectively studied 3003 African-American women and women with normal kidney functioning. All these participants were enrolled in the Jackson Heart Study.

Statistical analysis of beverage consumption of participants

Researchers of the study found that there is a lack of comprehensive information on the health consequences of the wide range of drink options available in the food supply. There is incomplete information on which types of drinks and patterns of beverages are linked to kidney disease risk in particular.

The investigators for their research assessed beverage intake through a food frequency survey. This questionnaire was administered at the start of the study in 2000-04, and they trailed participants until 2009-13.

Among the 3003 participants, 6% developed CKD over a median follow-up of 8 years. After modification for confusing factors, it was found that consuming a beverage pattern comprising of soda, water, and sweetened fruit drinks were associated with a greater risk of developing CKD. Participants who were in the top tertile for consumption of this pattern were 61% more expected to develop CKD than those in the bottom tertile.

The investigators were amazed to see that water was also a component of the beverage pattern which was linked with a higher CDK risk. They noted that participants may have stated their consumption of a variety of types of water. It included sweetened and flavored water. Unfortunately, they did not gather data about specific brands or a variety of types of bottled water in the Jackson Heart Study.

In an accompanying editorial, researchers noted that the results hold solid public health consequences. Though some select U.S., cities have reduced consumption of SSB [sugar sweetened beverage] via taxation, all other municipalities have resisted public health energies to lower SSB consumption.

The bottom line

This cultural resistance to reducing SSB consumption can be related to the cultural resistance to smoking termination during the 1960s after the release of the Surgeon General report. During the 1960s, the use of tobacco was regarded as a social choice and not a medicinal or social public health problem.

In an associated Patient Voice editorial, one of the researchers of the study described that he is a CKD patient who changed his eating and drinking patterns to put his disease in reduction. As a cook, he offers several recommendations to fellow patients who want to decrease their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.





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Areeba Hussain
The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.


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