Death by Diet Soda? Study prompting public angst

Posted on September 10, 2019 by

0


Death by Diet Soda?

A new study that links artificially sweetened beverages to premature death is prompting public angst. Some scientists say it has significant flaws.

By Andrew Jacobs

Does guzzling diet soda lead to an early demise?

There was a collective gasp among Coke Zero and Diet Pepsi drinkers this week after media reports highlighted a new study that found prodigious consumers of artificially sweetened drinks were 26 percent more likely to die prematurely than those who rarely drank sugar-free beverages.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, followed 450,000 Europeans over 16 years and tracked mortality among soft-drink consumers of all persuasions — both those with a fondness for sugary beverages and those who favored sugar-free drinks.

Given the well-documented health effects of consuming too much sugar, it was little surprise the authors found that people who drank two or more glasses of sugar-sweetened beverages a day were eight percent more likely to die young compared to those who consumed less than one glass a month.

But what grabbed headlines, and prompted widespread angst, was the suggestion that drinking Diet Coke could be even more deadly than drinking Coca-Cola Classic.

“Putting our results in context with other published studies, it would probably be prudent to limit consumption of all soft drinks and replace them with healthier alternatives like water,” said Amy Mullee, a nutritionist at University College Dublin and one of 50 researchers who worked on the study, one of the largest of its kind to date.

The study is not a one-off. Over the past year, other research in the United States has found a correlation between artificially sweetened beverages and premature death.

The problem, experts say, is that these and other studies have been unable to resolve a key question: Does consuming drinks sweetened with aspartame or saccharin harm your health? Or could it be that people who drink lots of Diet Snapple or Sprite Zero lead a more unhealthy lifestyle to begin with?

A number of nutritionists, epidemiologists and behavioral scientists think the latter may be true. (It’s a theory that will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has guiltily ordered a Diet Coke to accompany their Double Whopper with cheese.)

“It could be that diet soda drinkers eat a lot of bacon or perhaps it’s because there are people who rationalize their unhealthy lifestyle by saying, ‘Now that I’ve had a diet soda, I can have those French fries,’” said Vasanti S. Malik, a researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the lead author of a study in April that found that the link between artificial sweeteners and increased mortality in women was largely inconclusive. “This is a huge study, with a half million people in 10 countries, but I don’t think it adds to what we already know.”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/06/health/diet-soda-health-death.html?fallback=0&recId=1QeYXDNCWWwmsQixl6bQfUGkElf&locked=0&geoContinent=NA&geoRegion=MA&recAlloc=control&geoCountry=US&blockId=home-discovery-vi-prg&imp_id=47967725&action=click&module=Discovery&pgtype=Homepage


© 2019 US Food Safety Corporation. No copyright claim is made for portions of this blog and linked items that are works of the United States Government, state governments or third parties.

Tagged:
Posted in: Family safety