Live longer, avoid sugary and diet sodas! CNN reports that a 19-year study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who drank as few as two glasses (16 ounces) of soda a day, including diet soda, had a greater chance of dying from any cause than people who drank fewer than 12 glasses of soda a year.
The 451,743 study participants from 10 European countries were in good health at the outset, without signs of cancer, diabetes, heart disease or stroke. But, after 19 years of drinking sugar-sweetened sodas, including diluted syrups, both men and women had a greater risk of dying from digestive disorders than people who did not. It goes without saying that consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks also leads to weight gain and obesity.
Men and women who drank diet drinks over 19 years had a greater risk of dying from circulatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease. The long-term physiological and health consequences of drinking artificially-sweetened drinks is unknown.
People who drank as little as 16 fluid ounces of soft drinks a day also had an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. Of note, they did not have an increased risk of deaths from breast or prostate cancer. But, drinking one or more eight-ounce soft drinks a day–sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened–was associated with more colorectal cancer deaths than drinking fewer than one glass a month. That said, the researchers could not determine whether the sugary or artificially-sweetened drinks were factors in this association. N.B. A July 2019 study published in BMJ did show an 18 percent higher risk of overall cancer and a 22 percent higher risk of breast cancer from drinking as little as a third of a can of soda a day.
The researchers also found that people who drank more than one glass of diet soda a month but fewer than two a day had a greater risk of disease than those who did not.
The JAMA study was an observational study. It does not show that drinking soft drinks necessarily increases risk of death. Other studies in the US have shown associations between diet sodas and stroke, dementia and Type 2 diabetes.
If you want to reduce your soft drink intake, consider doing so gradually rather than going cold turkey. You have a greater likelihood of success. You might try substituting ice water for soft drinks. And, if you like carbonated drinks, you can substitute soda water for soft drinks. For extra flavor, you can add a small amount of juice to the soda water.
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