Sweet or diet makes no difference
Hold up, diet soda drinkers. Regular consumption of soft drinks – both sugarsweetened and artificially sweetened – was associated with a greater risk of all causes of death, according to new research published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Participants who drank two or more glasses of soft drinks per day had a higher risk of mortality than those who consumed less than one glass per month.
The study tracked 451,743 men and women from ten countries in Europe. It found that consumption of two or more glasses of artificially sweetened soft drinks a day was positively associated with deaths from circulatory diseases. For sugar-sweetened soft drinks, one or more glasses a day were associated with deaths from digestive diseases, including diseases of the liver, appendix, pancreas and intestines.
The researchers recruited people from Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the U.K. between 1992 and 2000, surveying them on their food and drink consumption. Participants were excluded if they reported incidents of cancer, heart disease, stroke or diabetes. Mean age was 50.8 and participants were 71.1 per cent female.
Similar results have been shown in recent studies but the researchers cautioned that elevated soft drink consumption may be part of an overall unhealthy lifestyle.
“In our study, high soft drinks consumers had a higher body mass index (BMI) and were also more likely to be current tobacco smokers,” said the study’s chief researcher, Neil Murphy of the International Agency for Research on Cancer. “We made statistical adjustments in our analyses for BMI, smoking habits and other mortality risk factors which may have biased our results, and the positive associations remained.”