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Member Research and Reports

Johns Hopkins: Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Pattern Linked to Higher Kidney Disease Risk

Higher collective consumption of sweetened fruit drinks, soda and water was associated with a higher likelihood of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD) in a community-based study of African-American adults in Mississippi, according to a new study led by a researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The findings, which appear in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, contribute to the growing body of evidence pointing to the negative health consequences of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages.

Certain beverages may affect kidney health, but study results have been inconsistent. To provide more clarity, Dr. Casey Rebholz, assistant professor in the Bloomberg School’s department of epidemiology, and her colleagues prospectively studied 3,003 African-American men and women with normal kidney function who were enrolled in the Jackson Heart Study.

“There is a lack of comprehensive information on the health implications of the wide range of beverage options that are available in the food supply,” says Dr. Rebholz. “In particular, there is limited information on which types of beverages and patterns of beverages are associated with kidney disease risk.”

For their study, the investigators assessed beverage intake through a food-frequency questionnaire administered at the start of the study from 2000 to 2004, and they followed participants from 2009 to 2013.

Among the 3,003 participants, 185 (six percent) developed CKD over a median follow-up of eight years. After adjustment for confounding factors, consuming a beverage pattern consisting of soda, sweetened fruit drinks and water was associated with a higher risk of developing CKD. Participants in the top tertile for consumption of this beverage pattern were 61 percent more likely to develop CKD than those in the bottom tertile.

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