Diet soft drinks have been linked to a reduction in kidney functioning, according to an emerging study cited by WebMD. While diet fizzy may help in keeping caloric intake down, the beverages might be doubling the risk of kidney function decline, said WebMD.

The research looked at women who consumed two or more diet soft drinks daily and found they experienced a 30 % decrease in “a measure of kidney function” based on a large follow-up, said WebMD, referring to research that was just presented at the yearly meeting of the American Society of Nephrology in San Diego, California.

“Thirty percent is considered significant,” said researcher Julie Lin, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a staff physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She noted that this is “especially true,” given that most participants began the study with what were considered well-preserved kidney function levels.

The female participants—3,256 in all, with a median age of 67—were participating in the Nurses’ Health Study and had provided dietary details that also included what they ingested in the form of sweet drinks, such as “sugar-sweetened drinks, sugar-sweetened soft drinks, and artificially sweetened soft drinks,” said WebMD, which explained that sugar-sweetened drinks included “soft drinks, fruit juices, and iced tea.” The study also provided kidney function measures.

The new research reviewed “cumulative average beverage intake,” that was compiled from “food questionnaires completed in 1984, 1986, and 1990,” said WebMD and covered frequency of drinking the beverages. Kidney function was compared over time and revealed a 30 percent decline in 372 (11.4 percent) of the participants, connected to consuming at least two artificially sweetened sodas daily.

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