The study found that both full-sugar and diet soft drinks leads to an increase in mortality risk.

While you (probably) know that drinking sugary sodas isn't healthy, it can be easy to dismiss your diet soda habit as harmless (after all, it has no *real* sugar or calories!) But a new study published in the Journal of American Medical Association says that your soda habit—whether you opt for sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened beverages—can have seriously adverse health effects.

The study surveyed over 450,000 participants in 10 countries across Europe and had them record their food and drink consumption. The researchers found that consuming one or more sugar-sweetened soft drinks a day was linked to a rise in death from digestive diseases, while the consumption of two or more artificially sweetened soft drinks was linked to a rise in death from circulatory diseases.

soft drink being poured into glass, shot with selective focus
Credit: rez-art / Getty Images

The study's chief researcher, Neil Murphy, addressed the possibility that the results of the diet soda group could have been affected by pre-established unhealthy behavior commonly seen by full-sugar soft drink consumers that have switched to drinking diet sodas. But he said the study made statistical adjustments for mortality risk factors often seen in full-sugar soda drinkers, such as high BMI and smoking.

The Bottom Line

Though the results may be influenced by other factors, there is enough evidence to reconsider regular consumption of soft drinks. Not to mention, there are a wealth of other negative health effects associated with the consumption of processed foods.

It's best to stick to a diet with minimal processed foods to reduce your chronic disease risk. And if you're looking for ways to reduce your soft drink intake—without having to rely on just plain water—try this refreshing Hibiscus-Pomegranate Iced Tea instead!