Drinking more than two diet or sugary drinks a day can lead to premature death, study finds

Prepare yourself, lovers of diet sodas and sugary drinks. This is more bad news and yet another reason to consider giving up your favorite soda or soft drink.

A new study followed more than 450,000 people in 10 European countries for up to 19 years and found that those who drank two or more glasses of any type of soda per day were at a higher risk of dying from any cause more deaths than people who drank less than one drink each month.

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None of the people had cancer, diabetes, heart disease or stroke before participating.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that men and women who drank two or more glasses of sugary soft drinks per day had a higher risk of dying from digestive disorders, while those who drank the same amount of diet drinks had a higher risk of dying cardiovascular disease.

The link to digestive disease in the study is interesting, said Dr. Sharon Horesh Bergquist, assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

“Experimental evidence suggests that high blood sugar and high sugar intake can alter the gut barrier, leading to a ‘leaky gut’ and access to the gut immune system causing gut inflammation, altering the gut microbiota and increasing sensitivity. intestinal infections, ”she said.

The study followed more than 450,000 people from 10 European countries for up to 19 years. Credit: Getty Images

“These pathways can increase susceptibility to digestive disease.”

Total consumption of soft drinks in the study was also associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, but not Alzheimer’s disease or cancer.

Carbonated drinks were defined as “low calorie or diet carbonated carbonated drinks”, “carbonated carbonated drinks”, such as cola and lemonade, and “fruit squash or syrups”, which are generally alcohol-free concentrated syrups. mixed with sugar and water.

In this study, a glass of soft drink was 8 fluid ounces, or 250 milliliters; the typical can of soda in the world contains 12 fluid ounces or 355 milliliters.

The end of a love story?

This large, long-term study is just another in a growing list of research that is sounding the alarm on our love affair with soft drinks.

In February, the The American Heart Association released a study who found that drinking at least two artificially sweetened drinks a day is linked to an increased risk of strokes, heart attacks and premature death in women over 50.

The risks were highest for women with no history of heart disease or diabetes and obese or African American women.

Previous research has shown a link between diet drinks and stroke, dementia, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and diabetes.

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“These pathways can increase susceptibility to digestive diseases.”

In March, a study published in the journal Circulation used data from 80,500 women enrolled in the Nursing Health Study and nearly 40,000 men in the Health Professionals Study.

It found that women who drank more than two servings per day of sugary drinks – defined as a standard glass, bottle, or can – had a 63% increased risk of premature death compared to women who drank less. once a month.

Men who did the same had a 29% increased risk.

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Those who consumed more than one sugary drink per month but less than two per day seemed to experience a dose effect: the more they drank, the greater the risk.

Replacing one sugary drink per day with one artificially sweetened drink was found to reduce the risk of premature death, but consuming four or more artificially sweetened drinks increased the risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease in women.

The same effect was not seen in men, and it was not seen for the risk of dying from cancer.

While the above studies did not see an association between soft drinks and cancer, another study published in the BMJ in July did.

Research followed more than 100,000 French adults and found that drinking just a small glass of a sugary drink per day – 100ml, about a third of a typical can of soda – has an 18 percent increase in overall cancer risk. and a 22 percent increase in breast cancer risk.

Only an association

This study, along with other research on the link between diet and sugary drinks and health risks, is observational and cannot show cause and effect.

This is a major limitation, say the researchers, because it is impossible to determine whether the association is due to a specific artificial sweetener, a type of drink, obesity, or some other hidden health problem.

“The cause of these associations is not clear,” Bergquist said.

“Other potential biological causes could be attributed to experimental evidence linking consumption of artificial sweeteners to sugar cravings, appetite stimulation and glucose intolerance.”

Robert Rankin, chairman of the Calorie Control Council, a trade group for low-calorie and diet foods and beverages, said in a statement that “low-calorie, low-calorie sweeteners have a long record of safety and are an important tool in the management of weight and those managing diabetes.

“This study paints an inaccurate picture of the important role of these products for consumers.”

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