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    • It is not just about vegans vs. omnivores.... it's important what you eat or drink within whatever diet you subscribe to. Sodas could be considered to fall in the realm of any diet, except a "healthy" diet now it seems.

      Looks like vegans who drink sodas are not going to be as healthy as non-soda drinking vegans. Lots of vegans are committed to being vegan because of love of animals, the effect on the environment, etc. But even vegans need to be careful when it comes to soda.

      "Participants who drank two or more glasses of soft drinks per day had a higher risk of mortality than those who consumed less than one glass per month."

      Here are some details about the study:

      "The study, one of the largest of its kind, tracked 451,743 men and women from 10 countries in Europe. It found that consumption of two or more glasses of artificially sweetened soft drinks a day was positively associated with deaths from circulatory diseases. For sugar-sweetened soft drinks, one or more glasses a day were associated with deaths from digestive diseases, including diseases of the liver, appendix, pancreas and intestines."

    • It’s so interesting that artificially sweetened soda is associated with circulatory diseases whereas soda with sugar is associated with digestive tract diseases. I wonder why.

      One thing I didn’t see is how large the risk is. I can see many people thinking it only increases their risk a little, so better to enjoy life and splurge a little.

    • From the study:

      Results  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 2 or more glasses per day (vs consumers of <1 glass per month) of total soft drinks (hazard ratio [HR], 1.17; 95% CI, 1.11-1.22; P < .001), sugar-sweetened soft drinks (HR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.01-1.16; P = .004), and artificially sweetened soft drinks (HR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.16-1.35; P < .001). Positive associations were also observed between artificially sweetened soft drinks and deaths from circulatory diseases (≥2 glasses per day vs <1 glass per month; HR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.30-1.78; P < .001) and between sugar-sweetened soft drinks and deaths from digestive diseases (≥1 glass per day vs <1 glass per month; HR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.24-2.05; P < .001).

      Can someone who understands what HR, CI and P means translate what this into English? I'm used to seeing numbers like smoking causes a 33% increase in your odds of getting lung cancer, or something like that.

    • HR stand for "hazard ratio". What this

      Higher all-cause mortality was found among participants who consumed 2 or more glasses per day (vs consumers of <1 glass per month) of total soft drinks (hazard ratio [HR], 1.17; 95% CI, 1.11-1.22; P < .001)

      boils down to here is that 1.17 individuals of a group of people consuming two or more glasses per day die for every dying individual in a group of the same size where everyone consumes less than a glass per month, in a given amount of time. The details might be a bit different, but it basically seems to be very comparable to your example of a percentage increase (1.17 then means a 17% increase).

      The rest of it is just math talk for how sure we are that the result we got is "real", and we didn't just stumble upon some freak event of too many people dying in one of the group that will never repeat again. In all of the cases mentioned here, we seem to be really sure that the effect really is within our confidence interval (CI; 1.11-1.22 in the part I quoted), because the P value given is really small. ;)

    • I would submit that correlation does not necessarily indicate causation...... Not the first scientist to remind us that correlations are not necessarily proof of causations.....particularly in surveys based on what people report they are consuming.

      No one ever misstates what they have eaten or drunk, have they?

      I would be very interested in a survey that compared mortality in still water drinkers to occaisional spring water drinkers...

      A 17% greater death rate would/could suggest we need a law, right?

      I wonder how much higher the death rate in folks who admit to drinking 1 drink a day of alcohol, compares to tee totalers. Is it 17% higher? Actually, teetotalers have the higher rates of death - that is really hard to believe, but there are some statistics to support that thesis.

    • I take it everyone in this discussion wants to live longest possible. I am more interested in your thoughts about life quality, than quantity. Though good physical health certainly is a prerequisite, where do you draw *your* line and why, is my curiosity.

    • I have come to understand that my views are shared by a very small percent of the population.

      My thing is I want to feel as great as possible, to be as mentally sharp, physically mobile, and cheerful as I can be for all of the day’s 24 hours.

      So for me, not drinking the sodas is a trade worth making. I love root beer and miss it, but I feel I trade quality of life for most of the day in exchange for root beer that makes me happy for a minority of the day.

      Some friends think I’m nuts.

    • That is explicitly mentioned by the study in its "Limitations" section:

      Given the observational design of the study, it is not possible to establish causality between soft drink consumption and mortality, and we recognize that the observed associations may be biased because of residual confounding.

      It goes on to state

      However, the large number of participants and recorded deaths (approximately 42 000) allowed us to conduct analyses by subgroups of other mortality risk factors, and we generally observed similar associations across subgroups of considered risk factors.

      As one example of such "similar association in a subgroup", the study shows that there's a higher risk of "all-cause mortality" for people consuming soft drinks even when comparing just obese people (BMI>30), or just people with a healthy weight (BMI<25), or just those who never smoked, or just those with a below-median alcohol consumption.

      What that means in plain english is that we could get the idea that there is no direct causality (as in: drinking soda directly leads to your death), but just a correlation, as in: people with a healthy lifestyle live longer than those with non-healthy lifestyle; drinking soda is a sign of a non-healthy lifestyle.

      However, by comparing just those people with a similar lifestyle (those that are obese or not; those that smoke or not; those that drink alcohol or not) and showing that even within these groups, drinking soda leads to a higher mortality, it is shown that it might not just be correlation but indeed causality in this case - or at least that the correlation is more specific than "healthy lifestyle = better".

    • Yes, I read the paper, and I understood those comments you pointed out... I just repeated their statement - correlation is not necessarily causation.

      Their definition of soda is still vague to me - does that include powdered drinks, like Crystal Light, Tang, Propel, among many others, or only bottled sodas. Sodas in glass bottles, verses can, verses plastic bottles. Only carbonated beveridges? As I asked above - what about spring water vs still water.

      I read about a Scotchman who found that drinking whiskey, or rum, or wine, or Scotch from a plastic cup lead to getting drunk. He said he proved that drinking from plastic cups leads to drunkeness.

      I am quite astounded by a study that "proves" a 26%->52% higher death rate for consuming some very widely available and heavily consumed items without any other general awareness.

      "artificially sweetened soft drinks (HR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.16-1.35; P < .001). Positive associations were also observed between 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; HR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.30-1.78; P < .001)"

      If it is really true, there ought to be a law, right!?

    • Back in 2010, there was a huge study of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and pancreatic cancer in Singapore. The study suggested an 87% increase in pancreatic cancer incidence among people who drank two glasses or more. Whoa.

      Pancreatic cancer is rare, some critics of the study said, so you go from small chance of it to small chance of it. Fair point. But still, 87% increase.

      Coke issued a press release claiming no causal link had ever been found, the study had issues, etc. They were right that there were questions about the study. People answered questionnaires, etc.

      The head of Harvard’s School of Public Health at the time, who was not involved in the study, said something that stuck with me: sugar-sweetened soft drinks are causally related to obesity, obesity is causally related to Type II Diabetes, which is causally related to pancreatic cancer. Bold statement.

      Side note: I think unsweetened green tea is good and was pleased to see it in so many vending macilhines in Japan. 🙂

    • I’ve been thinking about this the morning as I was walking my dog, and it occurs to me that they are comparing soda drinkers to non-soda drinkers as treated group to a control group.

      But there is a general assumption that a control group is relatively homogeneous and we have certainly no evidence of that fact in the non-soda drinkers group. What, exactly, are they consuming in lieu of soda? Water, purified water, distilled water, beer, wine, coffee ( fresh or instant ) , tea, or other poisonous or non-poisonous liquids?

      How do the death rates of non-soda drinkers disperse by age verses that of the various soda drinkers sub groups? If there is a toxicity that shortens life span, then we should see some evidence of dose response curves shouldn’t we?

      Despite trying many times, I have never developed a taste for coffe or tea, despite likening the boost from their caffeine 😟 so when driving and needing a boost, I get my caffeine from Crystal Light powdered drink mix- grape flavored, with exactly 60mg of caffeine ( a rather modest dose ) Most of the coffees from Starbucks have two or three times the sugar in a 12 ounce Coke, so I don’t drink them either for that reason. Are these Starbucks drinkers in the soda drinking group, or the more virtuous non- soda drinkers group?

      Which brings up another point, are the Jolt, Red Bull and the very high caffeine drinks from Starbucks included in the soda drinkers or the non-soda drinkers groups generally?

      There is serious well documented medical profession concern about cardiac deaths in young males consuming several Red Bull type of beverages. I have not seen estimates of possible numbers, but I think they are not in single, or even, double digits. I am surprised this hasn’t received bigger press coverage.

      These are some of the reasons I have more questions about the originally linked study which I think asks more questions than it answers. Do I think an occasional diet soda causes a 56% greater death rate, that has not been previously recognized? I have doubts, that I know are not shared by more virtuous readers.


      @Chris, I didn’t see your post as I was writing mine at the same time.🙂

      I do like unsweetened tea, and yet when I look in vending machines, there are countless bottles of sweetened tea with 45->60 grams of sugar, almost 2-3 times the sugar in that standard 12 ounce Coke-Cola. Are the consumers of that sweetened tea in the non-soda drinkers group? In California your convenience stores may offer a lot of unsweetened ice tea, but take a ride across Georgia or Tennesse and look in the coolers of the convenience stores along the route...

      The article we are discussing specifically did not see different cancer rates in the soda verses non-soda drinkers if my memory serves.

      I must confess the only cases of pancreatic cancer I had exposure to all occurred in very thin patients, two of them were typical Indian males ( Indian as a country on the Indian continent ) very slender. My limited experience is not a statistical survey of course.

    • We probably all have serious biases wrt this study. I badly want to believe that by forgoing root beer in favor of unsweetened green tea, I get a reward. Anyone who drinks Coke wants to believe it’s fine, it makes me happy and the risk is low.

      I’m data free on this point but my instincts say most of us end up leaning toward believing the story that makes us feel best about ourselves.

    • > countless bottles of sweetened tea

      I know, if you try to avoid sweeteners, as I do, you find them in almost everything — often disguised to trick us. It’s true, though, they make most foods yummy. 😛

    • My biggest gripe with sweetened foods is spaghetti sauce, marinara.

      I love tangy marina with a bite, but commercial bottles of marina frequenlty are LOADED with sugar - I suspect it is done to get children to eat it.

      I find it hard to imagine it appeals to adult palates, but what do I know about adult palates other than my own!!?? 🙀

    • I avoid sweeteners but ride a motorcycle. Go figure.

      I hate to ruin the pleasure of eating delicious things for anyone, but food engineering is all about combining sugar, fat and salt in the right proportions. If it’s really popular, they found a way.

      America’s beloved Chick fil A sandwiches have 1350 mg of salt, added peanut oil, and added sugar. Irresistible though.