If you want a soft drink, it’s easy to reach for the diet version of our favourite brands - but the World Health Organisation claims that two glasses daily comes with a risk.
Scientists from the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, have said it would be ‘prudent’ to cut out soft drinks and drink water instead.
A global study of over 450,000 adults across 10 countries, including the UK, has found that regular consumption of all soft drinks was linked with a higher risk of dying young.
Interestingly, the rates for adults consuming artificially sweetened diet drinks were significantly higher than in those who consumed full sugar versions.
Scientists added that taxing sugary drinks, like is currently done in the UK, could boost the consumption of diet drinks and the ‘long term’ health implications are currently not known.
Experts from the European Society of Cardiology in Paris said people should consider eliminating soft drinks from their diet altogether.
This research was published in the The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine journal. It’s currently the largest study to examine links between soft drinks and mortality rates.
It found that those who consumed two or more 250ml glasses of diet soft drinks a day had a 26 per cent increased risk of dying within the next 16 years. Those who had two or more sugary soft drinks a day had an increase of eight per cent.
Dr Neil Murphy, Study leader, said: “The striking observation in our study was that we found positive associations for both sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened soft drinks with risk of all-cause deaths.”
“Additional studies are now needed to examine the long term health consequences of specific artificial sweeteners that are commonly used in soft drinks, such as aspartame and acesulfame potassium”.
The study has also raised concerns about policies like the sugar tax, which encourage people to choose diet drinks instead. The authors wrote: “Reformulation of sugar-sweetened soft drinks, in which sugar is replaced with low- or no-calorie sweeteners, is being driven by consumer awareness and fiscal instruments, such as taxes.
“Artificially sweetened soft drinks have few or no calories; however, their long-term physiological and health implications are largely unknown.”