Researchers in Australia have found that people who drink a lot of soft drinks put themselves at higher risk of developing asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). After conducting an extensive study that involved thousands of participants the research team has found, as they describe in their paper published in Respirology, that the more soft drinks a person consumes, the more at risk they become for developing either or both.
The study, led by Led by Zumin Shi, MD, PhD, of the University of Adelaide, involved interviewing 16,907 people using an automated telephone questionnaire system, from early 2008 through the middle of 2010. In the study, soft drinks were categorized as Cocoa Cola, flavored mineral water, lemonade, Gatorade and Powerade, though the researchers suggest most any drink generally thought of as a soft drink would qualify.
Their study showed that approximately a tenth of those sampled admitted to drinking at least a half liter of soft drinks per day. In all, just over 13% of respondents who drank at least half a liter of soft drinks daily already had asthma and more than 15% of them had COPD, which are 1.26 and 1.79 times the national average.
COPD is most commonly manifested as either chronic bronchitis or emphysema. Both COPD and asthma make it hard to breathe, and either can be deadly. Neither is curable. Also, it is not uncommon for people to have both conditions simultaneously.
In correlating the data from those people who reported drinking in excess of a half liter a day, with the numbers of them that reported experiencing either of these lung diseases, it quickly became apparent that the more soft drinks a person consumes each day, the more likely they are to develop a lung disease.
The researchers don’t offer any explain as to why consuming a lot of soft drinks increase the chances for lung disease, but suggest that it is most likely related to the most common ingredient in all of them; carbon dioxide, which is used to give soft drinks their bubbles. They say that the consumption of carbon dioxide has been shown to be the opposite of anti-oxidants, which prolong the life cycle of individual body cells. Carbon dioxide, in contrast, seems to break them down faster, suggesting that not only is it implicated in lung disease, but also may contribute to accelerated aging.
The research team also found that when combined with smoking, users had a six and a half greater chance of developing asthma or COPD.