DIET drinks are no better for your health than sugary versions, a new study has revealed.
Drinking artificially sweetened drinks “raises your risk of dying young” with consumers more likely to die from heart disease, researchers found.
Experts at Zhengzhou University in China tracked 1.2 million adults over more than 20 years to learn more about their consumption of soft drinks.
Over the 20 year period 137,310 deaths occurred – with the risk of dying being increased for every 250ml of sweetened drink consumed each day.
The standard size for a can of a soft drink is 330ml with a bottle being 500ml.
Writing in the Journal of Public Health lead study author Dr Hongyi Li said people who consumed sugar-sweetened drinks had a five per cent increased risk of dying from any cause.
This is while they had a 13 per cent higher risk of dying from heart disease.
Those who drank the most sugar-sweetened drinks were 12 per cent more likely to die from any cause and 20 per cent more likely to die from heart disease when compared to those who drank the least.
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
Looking at drinks that are artificially sweetened and the researchers found that these drinks were linked to a four per cent increased risk of dying from any cause and a seven per cent higher risk of heart disease.
Experts have said that ideally, people should avoid drinking these drinks and should instead opt for “healthy alternatives”, but industry leaders say the drinks are fine to drink as part of a balanced diet.
People who drank more of the artificially sweetened drinks were 12 per cent more likely to die of any cause and 23 per cent more likely to die of heart disease – a three per cent increase on those drinking the drinks including sugar.
Dr Li said: “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.”
It was previously reported that there is a link between diet drinks and cardiovascular disease.
Researchers in the US found that the artificially sweetened drinks "were not a health substitute".
A team of French researchers also found that sugar in the drinks causes our bodies to store more fat around organs such as the liver and pancreas, and this has been linked to a higher risk of cancer.
In April 2018 the Uk government introduced a sugar tax in order to boost the nation's health.
This policy means that drinks companies producing beverages with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml have to pay 18p a litre to the treasury, if they contain 8g per 100ml then this tax rises to 24p.
Gavin Partington, from the British Soft Drinks Association said the sector know its has a role to play in helping to tackle obesity.
He added: "Soft drinks are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet", the Daily Mail reported.
Also commenting on the study, 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."
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