What Happens to Kidneys If You Drink Diet Coke & No Water?

LIVESTRONG.com may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Drinking diet coke can harm your kidneys.
Image Credit: rez-art/iStock/GettyImages

Are there any side effects of drinking Coca-Cola every day? You're asking for a friend, right? Here's what you need to know about the long-term effects of Coca-Cola and the health risks it poses to your kidneys.

Tip

Replacing water with Diet Coke is not a good idea since excess consumption of Diet Coke can cause severe harm to your kidneys.

Side Effects of Drinking Coca-Cola Every Day

According to Coca-Cola, Diet Coke was launched in 1983 as a sugar-free alternative to regular Coke. It has its own blend of flavors that is different from that of the original Coca-Cola drink. Diet Coke is low in calories and offers no nutrition; Coca-Cola says a 330-milliliter serving of Diet Coke has 1 calorie and 0 grams of protein, fat, carbs, sugar and salt.

Read more: Diet Coke Nutrition and Sugar Facts

Diet Coke is sweetened using an artificial sweetener called aspartame. It also contains carbonated water, caramel coloring, caffeine, citric acid, phosphoric acid and phenylalanine.

The side effects of drinking Coca-Cola every day can be pretty severe. A May 2018 study published in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition found that diet soda may be associated with a higher risk of diabetes.

The journal Nutrients published a study in May 2015 that found that consumption of diet soda was linked to a higher risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions like elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar and excess abdominal fat. This syndrome can raise your risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Another of the long-term effects of Coca-Cola is that it can damage your teeth. According to the American Dental Association, the carbonation in the drink, combined with the acids it contains, can erode your teeth.

Read more: Coke Zero Health Risks

Coca-Cola Health Risks to Kidneys

The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains that your kidneys are two fist-sized organs located in the middle of your back, right under your rib cage. Each of your kidneys is filled with approximately a million little structures called nephrons that filter your blood. Waste material and excess water are eliminated from your body via your urine.

If you're worried about the long-term effects of Coca-Cola and the health risks it poses to your kidneys, brace yourself for more bad news.

The National Kidney Foundation notes that drinking diet sodas can cause a decline in kidney function, hampering your kidneys' ability to filter your blood. While it's normal for kidney function to decline as you get older, drinking multiple diet sodas a day can accelerate kidney decline by 30 percent.

Aspartame may also affect your kidneys. An October 2017 study published in the Iranian Journal of Kidney Diseases found that aspartame may be toxic to your kidneys.

Replacing water with Diet Coke is not a good idea for a number of reasons. The Mayo Clinic notes that 60 to 70 percent of the human body is composed of water, and you need to keep drinking water throughout the day to help make up for the water that you lose via sweat, urine and stool.

While everybody's body is different and the amount of water you need may not be the same as the amount the person sitting next to you needs, the Mayo Clinic says that eight glasses of water per day is an approximate guideline. If you were to replace water with Diet Coke, you would be drinking eight glasses of Diet Coke a day. Given all the health risks associated with Diet Coke, that's not a good idea.

Read more: Diet Coke Withdrawal

Diet Coke is a pretty acidic beverage; while water has a neutral pH of 7, the pH of soda is closer to 3, notes Clemson University. Your kidneys will bear the brunt of this acidity as they are responsible for maintaining the pH balance in your system, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. A buildup of too much acid in the body can cause a condition called acidosis.

references
Show Comments