The less soda you drink, the stronger your bones are
Soft drinks affect bone health. And that implies that the more often you drink soda, the greater the chance that you will break a bone. This is the conclusion reached by Chinese epidemiologists at Chongqing Medical University in a study recently published in Nutrients.
The researchers followed 10,369 Chinese people aged 20-75 for five years. Of these, 9,914 had never broken a bone when the study began. The researchers determined the diet and lifestyle of these 9914 study participants, and then determined which participants broke a bone.
The more often the study participants drank soft drinks, the greater their chance of fractures. The participants who practically drank soft drinks on a daily basis were almost 5 times more likely to have a bone fracture than those who never drank soft drinks.
The researchers speculate that soft drinks affect bone health because they contain phosphates. If the kidneys remove phosphates from the body, they produce less of the active form of vitamin D. Another possibility is that the quickly absorbed sugars in soft drinks damage the bone cells.
Another possibility is that people who drink a lot of soft drinks use less liquid foods that improve bone health - such as tea.
In the recnet past, Western epidemiologists have come across the associations between bone fractures and the intake of soft drinks. [J Bone Miner Res. 2003;18(9):1563-9.] [Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;100(3):953-8.]
However, these associations were less strong than those in the Chinese study. That is probably, the researchers say, because the intake of calcium in the Chinese group studied is extremely low - below 400 milligrams per day. This makes the Chinese participants more vulnerable to bone fracture.
"A high consumption of soft drinks is associated with fracture risk", write the researchers. "Daily soft drinks consumption was associated with a doubled risk of fracture independently of sociodemographic factors and overall dietary patterns."
"This study highlights the important role of soft drinks in fracture risk among adults. To increase or maintain bone mass and reduce the risk of fracture, public health and clinical interventions should take into account reducing soft drinks consumption as an important strategy for the individual and population levels."
Nutrients 2020, 12, 530; doi:10.3390/nu12020530.
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