Study: soft drink consumption gives higher mortality risk

11 Sep 2019

A study published online by JAMA responds to the question: “Is regular consumption of soft drinks associated with a greater risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality?”

In a population-based cohort study of 451,743 individuals from 10 countries in Europe, greater consumption of total, sugar-sweetened, and artificially sweetened soft drinks was associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality.

Study: soft drink consumption gives higher mortality risk

Consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks was positively associated with deaths from circulatory diseases, and sugar-sweetened soft drinks were associated with deaths from digestive diseases.

The researchers conclude that the results of this study appear to support ongoing public health measures to reduce the consumption of soft drinks.

Soft drinks, the researchers note, are frequently consumed, but whether this consumption is associated with mortality risk is unknown and has been understudied in European populations to date.

The objective of the study was to examine the association between total, sugar-sweetened, and artificially sweetened soft drink consumption and subsequent total and cause-specific mortality.

The study involved participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), an ongoing, large multinational cohort of people from 10 European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom), with participants recruited between January 1, 1992, and December 31, 2000. Excluded participants were those who reported cancer, heart disease, stroke, or diabetes at baseline; those with implausible dietary intake data; and those with missing soft drink consumption or follow-up information. Data analyses were performed from February 1, 2018, to October 1, 2018.

In total, 521,330 individuals were enrolled. Of this total, 451 743 (86.7%) were included in the study, with a mean (SD) age of 50.8 (9.8) years and with 321,081 women (71.1%). During a mean (range) follow-up of 16.4 (11.1 in Greece to 19.2 in France) years, 41,693 deaths occurred. Higher all-cause mortality was found among participants who consumed two or more glasses per day (vs consumers of <1 glass per month) of total soft drinks, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and artificially sweetened soft drinks. Positive associations were also observed between artificially sweetened soft drinks and deaths from circulatory diseases (≥2 glasses per day vs <1 glass per month) and between sugar-sweetened soft drinks and deaths from digestive diseases (≥1 glass per day vs <1 glass per month).