A major study that analysed data on 1.2 million adults across 14 separate studies spanning over 20 years, found that unsweetened (or diet) Coca-Cola and most other variation of soft drinks, including lemonade are as bad for your health as their sugary version.
Dangerously sweetened beverages
Researchers found that whether people drank sugar-sweetened or artificially-sweetened soft drinks the results were the same; dying at a younger age was much more likely compared to those who avoided either beverages. Professor Graham MacGregor, from campaign group Action on Sugar, said:
People should ideally avoid sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened drinks, and choose a healthier option such as water.
The study found that out of the sample of people followed over the course of the various studies, 137,310 diedof a prematurely-developed illness linked to the consumption of either artificial or sugar-sweeted soft drinks.
According to researchers, drinking as little as 250ml of a sweetened beverage per day was enough to increase your chances of developing a heart disease.
Reducing sweetened beverage intake
Statistics also showed that people who drank high volumes of sweetened drinks were 20% more likely to die of a heart-related disease than those who did not drink them. Dr Hongyi Li, study lead author from Zhengzhou University in China explained that:
High consumption of both artificially sweetened beverages and sugar-sweetened beverages showed significant associations with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease mortality and all-cause mortality.
This information may provide ideas for decreasing the global burden of diseases by reducing sweetened beverage intake.
In 2018, the UK government introduced a 'sugar tax' on drinks in an effort to dissuade mass consumption and—instead–promote a healthier lifestyle.
Manufacturers of soft drinks containing upwards of 5g of sugar per every 100ml have to pay a levy of 18p a litre to the Treasury. The tax increases to 24p a litre for drinks containing more than 8g of sugar per 100ml.