Consumption of two glasses of soft drink (about 250 ml per day) is associated with a higher risk of death in a population cohort study of 451 743 people in 10 European countries.
The authors find that higher consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks is associated positively with deaths from circulatory disorders, and sugary soft drinks are associated with deaths from digestive diseases.
The authors consider their study to be the largest study to date of examining the relationship between soft drink consumption and mortality.
However, they acknowledge that the observational design of the study means that it cannot establish a cause and effect relationship.
0 country survey
Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the study covers Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The researchers recruited a study group of 451,743 participants between 1992 and 2000 and recorded the consumption of soft drinks.
In the following years (until 2012), 41 693 deaths occurred in the cohort. There was a higher mortality rate (for any reason) among people who consumed two or more cups of soft drinks per day than those who consumed less than one cup per month. This includes both non-alcoholic and artificially sweetened soft drinks.
"In this large multinational European study, higher consumption of common sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks is associated with an increased risk of death for all causes," researchers wrote in the study .
"The positive relationship between soft drink consumption and mortality was evident in both men and women. Only artificially sweetened, and not sugar-sweetened, soft drinks are associated with deaths from circulatory disorders, while for deaths from digestive diseases, only sugar-sweetened soft drinks are at higher risk. "
Previous studies have previously linked sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks to a higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The study also notes that higher consumption of soft drinks is associated with a higher risk of mortality from Parkinson's disease. "To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to link non-alcoholic beverage consumption to Parkinson's disease and further studies are needed to investigate this relationship."
The study is funded by the European Commission and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, with support from national cancer societies and public health funds.
Industry highlights lack of causation
The British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) responded to the study, emphasizing that health authorities say low and no calorie sweeteners are safe.
Gavin Partington, Director General of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: "" This study does not provide evidence of the cause, as the authors readily acknowledge.
"According to all the leading health authorities in The world, as well as Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK, are low and calorie-free sweeteners. "
BSDA says that soft drinks are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet and cites industry efforts to He cites data from Kan tar Worldpanel showing that total sugar intake of soft drinks decreased by 30.4% between May 2015 and May 2019.
Souce: Mullee A, Romaguera D, Pearson-Stuttard J, et al. between soft drink consumption and mortality in 10 European countries. JAMA Intern Med. Published online 03 September 2019. doi: 10.1001 / jamainternmed.2019.2478