Diet Coke’s fresh link to ‘dying young’
DRINKING fizzy drinks like Coke everyday could increase your risk of dying young, experts have warned.
Two cans of regular Coke increases the risk of early death from heart disease by a third.
Sugar-laden fizzy drinks also increase the risk of early death from any cause by a fifth - and are also fuelling a rise in cancer cases, Harvard experts said.
But if you think switching to the diet version is better for you, think again.
Swapping to Diet Coke - or diet soft drinks in general - is better, drink more than four a day and you're still at risk of dying young, The Sun reports.
In fact, previous studies have shown that the six common artificial sweeteners - aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, neotame, advantame and acesulfame potassium-k - have all been found to be toxic to gut bacteria.
They've been associated with weight gain, slashing the chances of getting pregnant during IVF, tripling the risk of a deadly stroke and dementia, and raising the risk of developing diabetes.
Stick to water
Experts said the best option was to ditch fizzy drinks altogether and stick to water instead.
Dr Vasanti Malik, who led the study at Harvard Uni in the US, said: "Our results provide further support to limit intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and to replace them with other drinks, preferably water, to improve overall health and longevity.
"Drinking water in place of sugary drinks is a healthy choice that could contribute to longevity.
"Diet soda may be used to help frequent consumers of sugary drinks cut back their consumption, but water is the best and healthiest choice."
Sugar-sweetened beverages include carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks.
Two sugary cans a day increases risk by a fifth
The new study, published in Circulation, looked at data from 80,647 women and 37,716 men who had answered questionnaires about lifestyle factors every two years.
They found that the more sugar-sweetened drinks a person drank, the more his or her risk of early death from any cause increased.
Drinking two a day increased that risk by 14 per cent, while those guzzling more than two a day had a 21 per cent increased risk of early death.
They also had a 31 per cent higher chance of dying young from heart disease.
Each additional drink consumed per day increased the risk by another 10 per cent.
Researchers also found a link between sugary drink consumption and an early death risk from cancer.
Previous studies have linked these beverages with weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, but few have looked at mortality.
Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, said: "These findings are consistent with the known adverse effects of high sugar intake on metabolic risk factors and the strong evidence that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, itself a major risk factor for premature death.
"The results also provide further support for policies to limit marketing of sugary beverages to children and adolescents and for implementing soda taxes because the current price of sugary beverages does not include the high costs of treating the consequences."
Follows similar stroke and heart attack warnings
Just last month, the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association released similar findings that linked soft drinks such as Diet Coke to an increased risk of a stroke and heart disease by almost a third.
The shock data showed that risk of early death is 16 per cent higher for those who consume diet drinks, compared to those who don't.
The research was published in the medical journal Stroke on February 14, and included data from a variety of different women and who were tracked for an average of 12 years.
However, Geoff Parker, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council - the peak body representing the non-alcoholic drinks industry - told news.com.au that consuming soft drinks was all about moderation.
"Any research that looks at health risks associated with diet and lifestyle must look at the total diet and not at one product, such as no sugar or 'diet' soft drinks," he said.
"In many instances, individuals' health problems are exacerbated by poor diet and lifestyle including high rates of physical inactivity."
He added that sweeteners used in all no sugar non-alcoholic beverages are rigorously assessed and approved by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
"No sugar drinks are a great option for consumers who don't want to worry about consuming too many calories and it is imperative that these drinks continue to be offered as a way to encourage Australians to manage the amount of sugar they consume."
Coca Cola has been contacted by news.com.au.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.