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Want to live longer? Stop drinking soda

Published Sep 6th, 2019 10:26AM EDT
soda health risks
Image: Food And Drink/Shutterstock

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Most people already know that regularly drinking soda can have negative health consequences. Whether you prefer sugar or artificial sweeteners in your soft drinks, guzzling cans of cola on a daily basis is obviously not as beneficial as, say, just drinking water. Still, you might not think that a soda habit could have a direct effect on your lifespan. A new study suggests the opposite is true.

Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the new research utilized data from over 450,000 individuals across 10 European countries, and it draws a shockingly clear link between regular soda consumption and early death.

In the study, the researchers looked specifically at the difference in health outcomes for individuals who drank two or more soft drinks per day and those who did not regularly consume such beverages. The data showed that those with a soda-drinking habit had a higher risk of all-cause mortality, and there were important differences between those who drank sugar-sweetened sodas and those who went for the calorie-free artificial sweeteners.

The researchers note that artificial sweeteners were positively associated with circulatory diseases while the natural, sugar-sweetened drinks were associated with deaths related to digestive issues. The study also highlights the link between soda consumption and diseases like diabetes.

“This study found that consumption of total, sugar-sweetened, and artificially sweetened soft drinks was positively associated with all-cause deaths in this large European cohort,” the researchers write. “The results are supportive of public health campaigns aimed at limiting the consumption of soft drinks.”

The link between sweet drinks and poor health isn’t exactly shocking, but what’s particularly interesting about this large-scale study is that it shows the often “guilt-free” zero-calorie drinks may be just as detrimental to a person’s overall health as sugar-packed sodas. So, if good health and long life are what you’re after, maybe just skip soft drinks as a whole.