24 September 2019 at 11:20
Diet drinks cause early death
New study reveals diet drinks and sugary soft drinks linked to early death.
Think diet soda is a healthy alternative? Think again…
A new study tracked over 450,000 men and women across 10 European countries and found that consumption of soft drinks was associated with a higher overall risk of mortality. This in itself may not sound that surprising; however the study also highlighted that the risks were present regardless of whether the drink was sweetened with sugar or artificially. The debate about the safety of artificial sweeteners is ongoing, but hopefully this new research will help to convince people that diet drinks are NOT a healthy alternative.
The 8-year-long study is one of the largest of its kind to date. Researchers found that daily consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks was linked to greater mortality from circulatory diseases, while consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks was associated with higher mortality from digestive diseases (including diseases of the liver, appendix, pancreas and intestines).
Participants with cancer, heart disease, stroke or diabetes were excluded, and statistical adjustments were made to account for differences in BMI, smoking and other risk factors which may have otherwise influenced the results. The results were similar whether participants were smokers, non-smokers, lean or obese - indicating that the health risks of soft drinks are independent of these factors.
Many nutritionists and naturopaths already advise against consumption of diet and artificially sweetened products; however, there are still many weight loss programmes which promote them, and irresponsible marketing leads consumers to believe they are making a healthy choice. This research alone is unlikely to lead to major changes but if parents promote water from an early age and consumers reduce their spending on soft drinks, it will prompt major manufacturers to rethink their product range and perhaps introduce truly healthy alternatives.
Reference: Mullee et al (2019) Association Between Soft Drink Consumption and Mortality in 10 European Countries. Available from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2749350