Consumption of soft drinks – whether sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners – may be associated with an increased risk of premature death, according to a study.
The study, involving over 4,50,000 participants from 10 European countries, found that those who drank two or more glasses of soft drinks, including sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks, per day had a higher risk of mortality from all causes than those who consumed less than one glass per month.
Specific associations were also observed between artificially sweetened soft drinks and deaths from circulatory diseases and sugar-sweetened soft drinks with mortality resulting from digestive diseases, researchers said.
The study, published in ‘JAMA Internal Medicine’, surveyed participants on their food and drink consumption between 1992 to 2000 and followed up an average of 16 years later.
“This study adds to the growing body of evidence that suggests possible negative associations between soft drinks and common causes of deaths such as heart disease and stroke,” said Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard from Imperial College London.
While the study found an association between consumption of soft drinks and increased mortality, the researchers stress that the link is a complex one and cannot be assumed to be causal.
“We found that compared with those reporting low consumption, participants who reported high consumption of soft drinks were at greater risk of all-cause death in our study sample,” said Neil Murphy, one of the study’s lead authors.