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Soft drinks, heat and exertion may be a recipe for kidney disease, study finds

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Buffalo, NY — Outdoor workers, take note: Drinking an ice-cold soda may help quench your thirst on a hot day. But it also may increase your risk for kidney disease, results of a recent study suggest.

Researchers from the University at Buffalo had study participants take part in a 45-minute exercise routine in a room set at 95° F, followed by a 15-minute break. During the break, participants drank 16 ounces of high-fructose, caffeinated soft drinks or water. This cycle was repeated three more times in succession. After the four-hour trial, participants were given a final drink that was either 1 liter or the equivalent of 115 percent of their body weight lost through sweating.

Results showed that participants who drank soda had two indicators of kidney disease: higher levels of creatinine in the blood and a lower glomerular filtration rate. Additionally, participants in this group had higher levels of vasopressin, an antidiuretic hormone that can raise blood pressure, and showed signs of mild dehydration during and after the trial.

Over an eight-hour workday, these effects might prove even more substantial.

“It is possible that the results of our study are underestimating the effect of consuming a high-fructose, caffeinated soft drink during a longer work shift, or as the heat load increases throughout the day,” Christopher Chapman, the study’s lead author and a doctoral candidate in exercise and nutrition sciences in the university’s School of Public Health and Health Professions, said in a Jan. 30 press release.

The study was published Jan. 2 in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

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