New Study Finds Soft Drink Consumption Associated with Overall Increased Risk of Death
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on September 3, 2019 published a new population-based cohort study of 451,743 individuals from 10 countries in Europe that found consumption of two or more servings per day of soft drinks was associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality. The authors referenced previous studies showing an association between consumption of soft drinks – both sugar sweetened and artificially sweetened – with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
The recent JAMA study found differences in the types of health effects for soft drinks, with consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks being positively associated with deaths from circulatory diseases, and consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks being associated with deaths from digestive diseases (affecting the liver, appendix, pancreas, and intestines). The JAMA article also reports an association of soft drink consumption with Parkinson disease mortality but recommends additional studies to examine the association. The JAMA study found no association between soft drink consumption and death from cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.
The baseline for comparison of risk of death from consumption of two or more soft drinks per day in the JAMA study was people who drank less than one glass of soft drink per month. Further, the study authors acknowledge that an observational study cannot establish causality, meaning that there may be some factor besides differences in soft drink consumption that is responsible in full or in part for the different mortality outcomes found in the JAMA study.