A new study published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that soft drinks, regardless of whether they contain sugar or artificial sweeteners, can increase the risk of premature mortality and may even be linked to Parkinson’s disease.
The study followed more than 450,000 European adults from 10 European countries - Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom - for 19 years.
The findings revealed that those who drank two or more glasses of soda a day, regular or diet, with a glass defined as equal to about 250 milliliters, had a higher risk of premature death compared to people who drank less than a glass of soda a month. In fact, those who drank sugar-sweetened soda daily had higher chances of dying from digestive diseases, while those who drank diet sodas daily had a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
“Our results for sugar-sweetened soft drinks provide further support to limit consumption and to replace them with other healthier beverages, preferably water,” one of the study’s authors, Neil Murphy, who is also a scientist at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, recently told Reuters. “For artificially sweetened soft drinks, we now need a better understanding of the mechanisms that may underlie this association, and research such as ours will hopefully stimulate these efforts."
The study also found that those who consumed one or more glasses of regular or diet soda a day were more likely to die from Parkinson’s disease, a nervous system disorder that affects movement. However, the possible relationship between Parkinson’s and soda consumption needs to be further examined.
"We have no prevailing hypothesis for the relationship we observed," Murphy told the The American Journal of Managed Care. "It is possible that this result is spurious. Additional epidemiological and experimental studies are now required to investigate this association further."