To Your Health
July, 2021 (Vol. 15, Issue 07)
Want to Live Longer? Don't Drink These
By Editorial Staff
These what? We're talking about sugar-sweetened beverages – including the artificially sweetened variety, and greater consumption of them can shorten your life. According to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine, consuming more sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened soft drinks is associated with a higher risk of death from any cause compared to consuming less.
Let's see how the researchers came to their eye-opening conclusion and why you should consider them the next time you or your children reach into your fridge for a cold, sugary beverage.
The study was huge, involving more than 450,000 people from 10 countries. Researchers excluded anyone with a pre-existing condition that elevated their risk of dying, such as reported cancer, heart disease, stroke, or diabetes. During the study period, people who reporting drinking at least two glasses per day of soft drinks (sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened) were significantly more likely to die compared to people who reported drinking soft drinks rarely (less than one glass per month). This associated was noted for total soft drink consumption, as well as individually for sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened drinks. The study defined a glass as approximately 250 mL of soft drink (about 8.45 ounces), and beverages included soft drinks, carbonated and isotonic drinks, and diluted syrups.
Drinking artificially sweetened drinks appeared to increase the risk of death from circulatory diseases in particular, while sugar-sweetened drink consumption was linked to death from digestive diseases. Total soft drink consumption (more than one glass per day vs. less than one glass per month) also was positively associated with death from Parkinson's disease.
If you're a soft drink enthusiast (or addict), don't wait to curb your enthusiasm until it's too late. Turn that habit into an occasional treat and reap the health benefits. Your body will thank you for it.