Diet drinks have long been hailed a healthy pick-me-up but new research suggests that just two cans a day could increase the risk of early death.
According to a recent study of 450,000 adults across Europe, consuming ‘healthy’ alternatives to cure your Coca Cola fix could be detrimental to our health in the long run with the daily habit raising the risk of death by more than a quarter.
The research, led by the World Health Organisation, found that the risk of early mortality increases by 8% for those who sup on two sugary drinks or more a day.
Interestingly, the study also found that artificially-sweetened drinks are even worse for our health than full sugar beverages, due to a correlation with poor heart health, with the risk of early death up by 52%.
READ MORE: These are the UK’s most sugary drinks
The study, which is the largest of its kind so far, also noted that death rates among those consuming at least two diet drinks a day were 26% higher than those who had less than one a month.
The key takeaway? Swap diet and sugary drinks for water, experts advise.
“The striking observation in our study was that we found positive associations for both sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened soft drinks with risk of all-cause deaths,” lead researcher, Dr Neil Murphy, said.
“It would probably be prudent to limit consumption of all soft drinks and replace with a healthier alternative, such as water.”
The study is the largest of its kind to date and looked at adults with an average age of 51 over a 16-year period - during which time, more than 41,000 participants died.
The NHS recommends that added sugar shouldn’t make up more than 5% of our daily calorie intake (that’s around 30g of sugar per day).
READ MORE: How much sugar is in your favourite drink?
But recent research highlighted that a large number of the nation’s favourite beverages surpass this in just one bottle from Naked’s Green Machine Smoothie (36.3g of sugar in a 330ml bottle) to Innocent’s Bolt From The Blue ( which boasts the equivalent of eight spoons of sugar).
It’s recommended that we swap fizzy drinks or sugar-laden squash for no-added-sugar drinks, low-fat milk and water.