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Read this if soda is your go-to beverage

By Health eNews Staff, a news service from Advocate Aurora Health

Soda is everywhere, but health professionals say regularly drinking the sugary drinks can come with health risks.

Here are five health risks to keep in mind:

1. Kidney damage and kidney stones: Diet sodas are linked to a decrease in the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of the kidney, a key measure of the kidney’s function. The GFR measures the amount of blood passing through glomeruli, which are clusters of kidney filters for waste in blood, according to the National Kidney Foundation. While the GFR naturally decreases with age, drinking more than two diet sodas per day can speed up this decrease.

And it isn’t just diet sodas. Dr. Maria Khan, a nephrologist at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., says kidney stones can form as a result of the fructose content in sweetened colas. “The relative risk is 23% higher among those drinking one or more sugar-sweetened colas per day compared to non-users as described in this study,” she says.

2. Diabetes: Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body either produces no insulin, too little insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is essential to helping your body metabolize blood sugar. People who drink just one or two sugary drinks on a regular basis have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who don’t, according to Harvard’s School of Public Health.

3. Obesity: The standard 20-oz. soda contains between 15 and 18 teaspoons of sugar and 250 calories or more. In addition, the calories from sugary drinks like soda tend not to make a person feel as full as food.

4. Heart issues: A study involving more than 40,000 men over two decades revealed that drinking just one sugary drink daily increases heart attack risk by 20%. The findings indicate that chronic heart diseases and other related issues with arteries and blood pressure can also arise as a result of guzzling soda.

“I educate my patients to avoid sweetened beverages and to drink a moderate amount of water instead,” says Dr. Khan. “The high sugar content in the sweetened beverages is a risk factor for obesity and obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease.

5. Weakened teeth: Drinking elevated amounts of soda weakens tooth enamel. The sugar in these drinks works with bacteria to form teeth-attacking acid.

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