It’s good to see yet another study on the detrimental effects of Soft Drinks. This time a study from the University of Oklahoma compared two groups of women over a five year period. One group in the 4,000 strong study consumed two or more sugary soft drinks, whilst the other group drank one or less. The participants had their weight, waist size, cholesterol & triglyceride levels measured and compared over the course of the study. The study concludes that woman drinking two or more soft drinks a day are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The study indicates that whilst the woman’s weight didn't necessarily increase on this soft drink regime, their risk of developing high triglycerides increased four-fold – therefore bodily fat doesn't appear to be the sole reason for the risk.
An observational study like this has far too many variables, yet it is still useful, especially if it leads to further (ideally clinical) studies. It’s also useful if it makes those who consume soft drinks question their nutrition. I think it likely a woman who consumes several soft drinks a day isn't likely to be following a healthy Paleo diet in every other aspect of her nutrition. This makes it impossible to attribute the declining health of that group to their soft drink consumption alone. I also have trouble with the category of “one of less” soft drinks, as I’d consider one soft drink a day to be very high use – especially where those drinks contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)! I look forward to the full peer reviewed study which may address some of these points.
I think a lot of slim people consider themselves healthy and have an attitude that they can “get away” with a poor diet, including drinking regular soft drinks. This study goes some way to challenge those views, and perhaps might help make people realise even though they may feel healthy today, they may be storing up problems for their future health. I just hope studies like this don’t lead to diverted consumption of diet soft drinks, which in my opinion are often even more harmful.
What’s wrong with drinking water?
What do you think of observational studies like this? Do you think they will they one day start to change nutrition en masse?