According to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine, consuming soda, both naturally and artificially sweetened, is linked to a higher risk death by many causes.
In the study, participants who drank a minimum of two glasses of soda per day had a higher risk of mortality than those who only consumed a maximum of one glass per month.
The study covered participants from 10 countries in Europe. It ultimately revealed that the consumption of a minimum of two glasses of artificially sweetened soda (also known as diet soda) per day was related to deaths from circulatory diseases. Those who consumed one or more glasses of regular soda were connected to deaths from digestive diseases, liver diseases, appendicitis, and diseases of the pancreas and intestines.
The researchers say similar results have been found in other studies, but they point out that this one confirms high soda consumption as a marker for an 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. 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,” said Neil Murphy, chief researcher of the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Therefore, the researchers indicated that the association between soft drinks and mortality is not strongly influenced by smoking habits and BMI.
Sarah Reinhardt, a top food systems and health analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists, also commented. She said, “The results of this study are significant, it reinforces the fact that won’t surprise anyone in the nutrition field: Processed foods loaded with artificial ingredients will never be the magic bullet to better health, no matter how low they are in sugar. Our bodies are smarter than that.”
There were some controversial comments over the “diet soda” portion of the study.
Bonnie Liebman, CSPI’s director of nutrition, stated, “This new European study is somewhat inconsistent with earlier findings, in the new study, the risk of dying of any cause was more strongly linked to people who drink more diet drinks than to people who drank more sugary drinks.”
Keri Peterson, a medical advisor to the Control Council, contradicted this result. She said numerous other studies have proven that sweeteners used in diet sodas are some of the safest and most studied ingredients in food.
Researchers found no links between soft drink consumption and cancer death or deaths from Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the American Cancer Association, the greatest source of sugar we consume comes from sweetened beverages. In the United States since the 1970s, the percentage of obese children and adolescents has tripled. About 40% of adults are also obese. Four cities in California have moved to impose soda taxes, and recent studies have shown that it has caused people to drink fewer sugary drinks and make healthier choices.
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is important that you take care of your health and try to consume fewer sugary drinks.