While diet sodas have long been touted as a healthier alternative to their full-sugar counterparts, a new study appears to show that drinking too much of any type of soda may be bad for your health. The study, involving about 450,000 people living in 10 European countries, found that people who consumed two or more glasses of soda per day, regardless of sugar content, were 17 percent more likely to die during the nearly two-decade study. The results of the study have been published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
In the new study, the researchers analyzed information from 451,743 participants living in Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom that were recruited between 1992 and 2000. The participants, who did not have cancer, heart disease, stroke, or diabetes at the start of the study, reported how often they consumed diet or regular soft drinks The study lasted until 2012, with participants being followed for 16 years, on average.
During the study period, 11 percent of those who reported consuming at least two soft drinks a day died, compared with 9 percent of those who reported consuming fewer than one soft drink per month. People who frequently consumed diet sodas were more likely to die from cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease, while people who frequently consumed sugar-sweetened sodas were more likely to die from digestive diseases, such as liver diseases.
The study also showed that higher soft drink consumption was associated with greater risk of Parkinson disease mortality. The findings held even after the researchers took into account factors that could affect people’s risk of premature death and disease, such as smoking, alcohol use, body mass index (BMI), physical activity, calorie intake, and diet.
The authors believe their study is the largest to date to investigate the association between soft drink consumption and mortality. The study was funded by the European Commission and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, with support from national cancer societies and public health foundations.