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Could Soft Drinks Be Killing You?

A large European study found that people who usually had two soft drinks a day were more likely to die prematurely than those who had less than one a month.
Could Soft Drinks Be Killing You?

People who consume a lot of soft drinks may be putting themselves at risk. That’s the conclusion from a large study not in the US but in Europe (JAMA, Sept. 3, 2019).

The EPIC study stands for European Prospective Investigation in Cancer and Nutrition. Nearly half a million people in ten European countries participated for an average of 16 years. All the participants filled out detailed dietary and lifestyle questionnaires at the beginning of the study.

What Happened to Those Imbibing Soft Drinks?

By the end of the research period, the investigators found that those who reported consuming two or more glasses of soda pop daily were about 17 percent more likely to have died than those who drank less than one glass monthly. In particular, soft drink guzzlers were more susceptible to cardiovascular disease and digestive problems. They were also more likely to die of Parkinson’s disease.

Is Diet Pop Better?

In general, artificially-sweetened soft drinks were not safer than sugar sweetened sodas, especially for heart disease. Sugar-sweetened beverages appeared to carry higher risks for gastrointestinal disease.

Such epidemiological research cannot establish cause and effect. The authors were careful to describe this as an association. It is not the first time scientists have established a link between soft drinks and health problems, however. As a result, limiting soda pop consumption is a step that nutrition experts and public health authorities have been advocating for years.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
  • Mullee A et al, " Association between soft drink consumption and mortality in 10 European countries." JAMA, Sept. 3, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.2478
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