There are specific well-defined and also well-known steps that you can take to promote a healthy lifestyle. A new study appears to suggest that an additional one is “don’t drink soda”. You might perhaps be tempted to think that this is about sugar and that diet soda will be just fine. Apparently not. That also has now been associated with an earlier death.
In one word, as a consumer of multiple cans of diet soda per day, … “yikes”.
Tons of questions pop into my head …
- How reliable is this study?
- How much is too much?
- How exactly did they determine that diet drinks are also a problem?
Let’s take a look.
Published within the JANA Internal Medicine journal on 3rd Sept the study addressed the following question …
Is regular consumption of soft drinks associated with a greater risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality?
The answer they have is this …
In this population-based cohort study of 451, 743 individuals from 10 countries in Europe, greater consumption of total, sugar-sweetened, and artificially sweetened soft drinks was associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality.
Consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks was positively associated with deaths from circulatory diseases, …. and …
… sugar-sweetened soft drinks were associated with deaths from digestive diseases.
In other words, reducing or even eliminating your consumption of soda and diet soda appears to be a rather good idea.
They recruited over half a million people from Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom between 1992 and 2000 to be part of the study.
At the start, anybody who reported cancer, heart disease, stroke, or diabetes were excluded, so that dropped the number to 451,743.
The average age of those involved was 50.
They they tracked these people for more than a decade. Over the study period 41, 693 died.
Here is what they discovered …
- Those drinking 2 or more glasses of a soft drink per day had a higher probability of death
- Positive associations were observed between sugar-sweetened soft drinks and digestive disease
- Positive associations were also observed between artificially sweetened soft drinks and deaths from circulatory diseases
There is also good news here as well …
- No Association with Cancer
- No association with Alzheimer disease
Soda Study Author Comments
Neil Murphy of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the study’s chief researcher …
“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.”
“For artificially sweetened soft drinks, ours is the third large study published this year that has reported positive associations with all-cause deaths,”
“We recognize that a possible explanation for the positive associations found for artificially sweetened soft drinks is that participants who were already at greater health risk (those who were overweight or obese; those with prediabetes) may have switched to artificially sweetened soft drinks to manage their calorie and sugar intake,”
Bottom line – it is not a definitive conclusion, but instead is a strong correlation that remains when the attempt to control for other answers. It is also not a lone isolated outlier of a study, others are also ringing alarm bells.
What can you do to reduce your risk of death?
Basically pay attention to these 5 things and you will harvest real benefit …
- healthy diet
- regular exercise
- lean body mass
- not smoking
- limited alcohol use
… and I’m not making that up, there is good solid robust evidence that those five really do work and are highly effective.
For reference, here is the latest of many studies that confirms that these five basic lifestyle factors really do have a dramatic impact on longevity and the risk of death from heart disease, cancer, or other causes.
This is something you probably know, and yet many of us don’t pay attention to it. If you are not doing these now, then pause and consider them. The evidence is both clear and robust that these 5 items are your best bet.
As for this latest soda consumption insight, well that’s basically something that falls under the “healthy diet” category.