Diet soda depletes calcium and may increase heart attack risk

The average American drinks 216 liters of soda each year.1 Soda drinking has previously been associated with lower bone mineral density in women and children,2,3 and one study in particular has focused specifically on the effects of diet soda on bone health.  The authors commented that this research was sparked by the observation that diet soda drinking behaviors are often different than regular soda drinking behaviors – women often use diet sodas in an effort to avoid weight gain – either to stave off hunger between meals or as a replacement for calorie-containing beverages.  Many women drink over 20 diet sodas per week.4

These researchers discovered that parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentrations rise strongly following diet soda consumption.  PTH functions to increase blood calcium concentrations by stimulating bone breakdown, and as a result release calcium from bone.

In the study, women aged 18-40 were given 24 ounces of either diet cola or water on two consecutive days, and urinary calcium content was measured for three hours. 

Women who drank diet cola excreted more calcium in their urine compared to women who drank water.  

The authors concluded that this calcium loss may underlie the observed connection between soda drinking and low bone mineral density.5

Although caffeine is known to increase calcium excretion and promote bone loss,6 caffeine is likely not the only bone-harming ingredient in sodas.  A 2006 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found consistent associations between low bone mineral density and caffeinated and non-caffeinated cola (both regular and diet), but not other carbonated beverages.7 One major difference between the two is the phosphoric acid in colas, absent from most other carbonated beverages. 

In the Western diet, phosphorus is commonly consumed in excess – at about 3 times the recommended levels, whereas dietary calcium often low.  Although phosphorus is an important component of bone mineral, a high dietary ratio of phosphorus to calcium can increase parathyroid hormone secretion, which is known to increase bone breakdown.   Studies in which women were given increasing quantities of dietary phosphorus found increases in markers of bone breakdown and decreases in markers of bone formation.8,9 Therefore it is likely that the phosphorus content of colas  triggers calcium loss.

There is nothing healthy about diet soda.  It is simply water with artificial sweeteners and other chemical additives, such as phosphoric acid. 

The safety of artificial sweeteners is questionable, and they provoke the release of insulin and other hormones that regulate blood glucose; their intense sweetness confuses the body, which naturally associates sweet taste with calories – over time, these mixed signals can lead to increased appetite and weight gain.10 

Diet sodas don’t just weaken our bones, they are linked to kidney dysfunction and promote obesity.

Furthermore, in a recent study, older adults who drank diet soda daily had a 43% increased risk of heart attack or stroke compared to those that never drank diet soda.11

 

References:

1. Nation Master.  Statistics: soft drinks. http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/foo_sof_dri_con-food-soft-drink-consumption

2. McGartland C, Robson PJ, Murray L, et al. Carbonated soft drink consumption and bone mineral density in adolescence: the Northern Ireland Young Hearts project. J Bone Miner Res. 2003 Sep;18(9):1563-9.

Mahmood M, Saleh A, Al-Alawi F, Ahmed F. Health effects of soda drinking in adolescent girls in the United Arab Emirates. J Crit Care. 2008 Sep;23(3):434-40.

3. Tucker KL, Morita K, Qiao N, Hannan MT, Cupples LA, Kiel DP. Colas, but not other carbonated beverages, are associated with low bone mineral density in older women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Oct;84(4):936-42

4. Frieden J. ENDO: Diet Soft Drinks Deplete Urinary Calcium. Medpage Today. http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/ENDO/20831

5. NS Larson, et al "Effect of Diet Cola on urine calcium excretion" ENDO 2010; Abstract P2-198.

http://www.endojournals.org/abstracts/P2-1_to_P2-500.pdf

6. Vondracek SF, Hansen LB, McDermott MT. Osteoporosis risk in premenopausal women. Pharmacotherapy. 2009 Mar;29(3):305-17.

Massey LK, Whiting SJ. Caffeine, urinary cal- cium, calcium metabolism and bone. J. Nutr. 19923 Sep;123 (9): 1611-14

7. Tucker KL, Morita K, Qiao N, et al. Colas, but not other carbonated beverages, are associated with low bone mineral density in older women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Oct;84(4):936-42.

8. Kemi VE, Kärkkäinen MU, Karp HJ, et al. Increased calcium intake does not completely counteract the effects of increased phosphorus intake on bone: an acute dose-response study in healthy females. Br J Nutr. 2008 Apr;99(4):832-9.

9. Kemi VE, Kärkkäinen MU, Lamberg-Allardt CJ. High phosphorus intakes acutely and negatively affect Ca and bone metabolism in a dose-dependent manner in healthy young females. Br J Nutr. 2006 Sep;96(3):545-52.

10. Swithers SE, Martin AA, Davidson TL. High-intensity sweeteners and energy balance. Physiol Behav. 2010 Apr 26;100(1):55-62.

Ma J, Bellon M, Wishart JM, et al. Effect of the artificial sweetener, sucralose, on gastric emptying and incretin hormone release in healthy subjects. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2009 Apr;296(4):G735-9.

Liang Y, Steinbach G, Maier V, Pfeiffer EF. The effect of artificial sweetener on insulin secretion. 1. The effect of acesulfame K on insulin secretion in the rat (studies in vivo). Horm Metab Res. 1987 Jun;19(6):233-8.

11. Gardener H, Rundek T, Markert M, et al. Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with an Increased Risk of Vascular Events in the Northern Manhattan Study. J Gen Intern Med. 2012 Jan 27. [Epub ahead of print]

 

Sodium and artificial sweeteners linked to decline in kidney function

 

Two studies presented at the American Society for Nephrology’s annual meeting earlier this month are beginning to build data on the links between diet and kidney disease. The researchers used data from the Nurses’ Health Study to correlate intake of sodium and sweetened beverages with kidney function in 3,000 women over an 11-year period.

In the first study, the authors found that higher dietary sodium intake was associated with a greater decline in kidney function over that 11-year time frame.  Excessive sodium intake is already well-known to promote hypertension and consequently heart disease, and now we have one more reason to avoid it.

In the second study, women who drank two or more servings per day of artificially sweetened soda doubled their odds of kidney function decline.

Sure, we save a few calories drinking a diet soda, but does that really help us? Scientific studies have linked artificial sweeteners and/or diet soda to weight gain, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

As a society, we disregard these possible dangers to the detriment of our health. We have grown accustomed to the intense saltiness of restaurant meals and processed foods, and the intense artificial sweetness of aspartame, acesulfame K, and sucralose. By cutting these harmful substances out of our diets, we can begin to enjoy the more subtle flavors of natural whole foods, and benefit our kidneys in the process.

 

Reference:

American Society of Nephrology (2009, November 2). Diets High In Sodium And Artificially Sweetened Soda Linked To Kidney Function Decline. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 17, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091101132543.htm

 

In the Future Soda will be Even Scarier!

Honestly, there’s no reason to drink soda or soft drinks. They’re sugar water that sometimes comes with bubbles. Yippee! But the soda of the future will be much, much worse:

 

 

Then again, drinking a gooey discharge from a giant slug’s butt could be better than drinking a can of cola that’s engineered in a lab and bottled in a factory. Eek!

Image credit: FANCAST

Food Face Off: Pollan vs. Colbert

Last week, Michael Pollan, New York Times journalist and natural food advocate, stopped by The Colbert Report to discuss his book In Defense of Food and went one on one with high-fructose corn syrup addict Stephen Colbert. It got ugly:

 

 

Michael Pollan is a really cool guy. I haven’t read his book yet, but it’s on my list, along with Marley and Me. Now, if you don’t know who Michael Pollan is, check out this awesome interview with him from Democracy Now.

Image credit: The Colbert Report

America's Energy Crisis

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Scott Wharton of HealthandMen and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of DiseaseProof or Dr. Fuhrman.

Is there ever going to be a point where we stop seeing the walls of energy drinks and energy shots at our convenient stores? When I was in my late teens and early 20 there wasn't any Red Bull, Monster or Rock Star drinks. There was only Jolt Cola. Jolt was just like any other cola, except they claimed that it packed more caffeine and more sugar than your average Pepsi. If I was about to embark on a long drive from Quantico, Virginia to upstate, New York I would grab one or two of these for the road. I wasn't much of a coffee drinker back then and Jolt Cola was my pick-me-up when I had to make long trips home. The downfall with caffeine and sugar was the crash. I would often get about 6 hours in to the trip and suddenly start to feel the crash. By the time I got home I would be either be wiped clean of any energy I had.

Truck stops used to have the plastic cases next to or behind the counter loaded with little bottles of mini-thins and similar products. They were Ephedrine or Ephedra based stimulants that were not the healthiest stimulant but then again loading up on caffeine and sugar isn't either. People started dying from overuse of ephedra and the United States took action against ephedrine because of the Meth epidemic. That's the reason you have to go to the pharmacy to get anything with ephedrine in it like Sudafed. The most you see in them now are Stackers and other caffeine, guarana and ginseng products.

These days the energy shots and drinks are still loaded with caffeine, sugar and extra vitamins. We know too much caffeine is bad for your heart and too much sugar is never a good thing for the human body, but what about the vitamins? Vitamins are good, right? That's what we're told as children. People don't know nearly enough about vitamins except for what they might hear on television and rarely do their own research. Naturally if you're told by some random person on TV that B Vitamins are good for you, then you're bound to believe that. Granted, B Vitamins are good for you and B vitamin deficiencies are, well, not good.

The funny thing that people fail to understand when they buy the energy shots like 6 Hour Energy and equivalent products is that most of that vitamin B that is supposed to give you all that energy is just going to waste. If you eat properly you get plenty of vitamin B and there really isn't much need for more. Either way, your body will get rid of any excess water soluble vitamins that it doesn't need and has no need to absorb and pees out. People that take a vitamin B supplement often know how well their body is absorbing it by the color of their urine. Riboflavin or vitamin B2 will tend to make your urine a bright yellow color.

Marketing is an amazing thing because people are so easily manipulated by things that help make day-to-day life more convenient. Fat burning pills, energy supplements and anything else that helps cope with the stress of work or life in general. When you're tired you're tired. There is no other way around it and your body needs rest. No matter how much energy supplements you take, it can not substitute the rejuvenating effect your body gets from a good night sleep. Sometimes you have to slow down, take it easy and let Mother Nature do her thing.

Image credit: Hotash

Less Sugary Drinks Mean More Weight-Loss

Not exactly a revelation, but new research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found reducing calories from sugary beverages, even as little as one serving per day can result in over two pounds of weight-loss over 18 months. Experts examined the diets of 810 adults, ages 25 to 79, for 18 months, finding that sugar-sweetened drinks accounted for 37% of calories consumed, leading researchers to claim cutting sugary drinks is more important for losing weight than eating less; via HealthDay News.

Soda’s not your friend, despite how cute the Coca-Cola polar bears are. All the high-fructose corn syrup in soft drinks raises type-2 diabetes risk and soda is pretty creepy, it has the same pH as vinegar and leaches calcium from your bones and let’s not forget. Cola will rot your feet with the gout. Eek!

Last week, scientists determined women drinking sweetened beverages have a 35% higher risk of heart disease and other studies have linked soda with kidney disease and metabolic syndrome.

Image credit: M J M

Sugary Drinks Heighten Coronary Danger in Women

New research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found women drinking sweetened beverages may have a 35% higher risk of heart disease. For the study, experts evaluated data from nearly 89,000 women without heart problems, stroke or diabetes in 1980, using questionnaires to track dietary habits. After 24 years, researchers documented over 3,000 incidences of fatal and non-fatal coronary artery disease; via Food Navigator.

Warning labels have even been suggested for soda, due to probable weight-gain associated with over-consumption. Also, soda has been linked with the gout, a buildup of uric acid, causing arthritis or worse. However, a report this November revealed taking soft drinks out of schools, while good intentioned, doesn’t stop kids from getting their soda fix.

In the past, sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup have raised concern over mercury contamination and sugary drinks’ link to weight-gain and obesity is causing politicians to consider taxes on non-diet soft drinks, such as New York governor David Paterson.

Image credit: Saix55205

Lose Weight. Avoid Fast Food. Walk Lots.

A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology determined people living in towns with high-concentrations of fast food restaurants ate more fast food and gained more weight, but people from neighborhoods that required a lot of walking to get around, lost weight. Experts surveyed over 1,200 residents of Portland, Oregon, ages 50 to 75, tracking key markers such as body weight, eating habits and physically activity, and discovered people surrounded by fast food had a weight increase of 3 pounds, but those doing a lot of walking had a weight decrease of 2.7 pounds in one year; ScienceDaily reports.

Strikingly similar to last month’s study linking high-density of fast food restaurants in a neighborhood to 13% higher risk of stroke among residents and this is related to yesterday’s post about the lack of healthy foods being sold in low-income communities.

And a previous report showed kids’ whose school is within walking distance of fast food restaurants are more likely to be obese and drink soda. But come on. At the end of the day there’s no gun to your head, no one’s forcing you to eat fast food!

Image credit: AlastairMoore

Living Near Fast Food Ups Stroke Risk

According to a new study presented at this year’s American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference, people who live in communities full of fast-food restaurants are more likely to have a stroke. Researchers examined stroke data on residents of Nueces County, Texas, where fast food restaurants are heavily concentrated, between January 1, 2000 and June 2003, and discovered stroke risk was 13% higher and risk increased 1% for each fast-food place in a neighborhood; Reuters reports.

Don’t forget. In December, it was determined students whose school is within walking distance of fast food restaurants are less likely to eat fruits and vegetables and more likely to drink soda and be obese.

Okay, hopefully you don’t need reasons not to eat fast food, but in case you’ve had a stroke and forgot, fast food has been linked to organ damage and its packed with trans-fat and lots of salt. Yuck!

Image credit: Phil Dragash

Soda May Cause Kidney Damage

A new study in Environmental Health claims women drinking two or more regular sodas a day may have a higher risk of kidney damage. Consuming lots of soda, i.e. high-fructose corn syrup, increases risk of albuminuria, a marker of early kidney disease. Of the participants, 9,358 women ages 20 and up, those who drank at least two sodas a day had a 40% higher risk of albuminuria. Men have a similar risk; via Med Page Today.

Actually, a previous report listed soft drinks, along with red meat and salt, as cancer-causing foods. Maybe that’s why New York wants to slap a tax on sugary drinks, like soda, and why the FDA slammed Coca-Cola for making bogus health claims about Coke Plus.

This is funny too. Coke says soda is great for hydrating your body after a workout. Yeah, and the sugar high will bounce you off the walls too—stupid!

Image credit: Brent and MariLynn