Before you pick up your next liter of Coca-Cola, you may want to consider the latest news from Australia. As published in the Journal of Respirology, researchers suggest that they have found a link between soft drink consumption, COPD and asthma.
The study consisted of 16,907 participants aged 16 years and older. Self-reported data was collected between March, 2008 to June, 2010. Overall, 15.6% of people with COPD and 13.3% of people with asthma said they consumed more than one-half liter of soda per day. After making adjustments for socio-demographic and lifestyle factors, researchers concluded that there was a positive correlation between soda consumption and COPD/asthma in the southern region of Australia.
Although researchers admit there were many limitations to the study, they caution that there are significant public health risks to drinking too much soda, regardless of whether or not there is a cause and effect relationship between soda consumption, COPD and asthma.
Representing the other side, the American Beverage Association contacted me with an important message to share with readers:
"Real science is undermined when we focus on implausible associations between two things, such as soft drinks and lung disease. The fact remains that asthma and COPD are not caused by drinking soda and other sweetened beverages. In fact, the authors of this phone survey of South Australian adults themselves note that 'causal relationships could not be established.' Furthermore, their findings show no association between soft drink consumption and asthma or COPD among non-smokers. Importantly, the authors state that 'caution should be exercised' in interpreting their findings, which are not representative of the public at-large."
So, will this study make you think twice about drinking soda? Or, do you find this study lacking due to the many limitations it contained? Share your comments.
ZUMIN SHI, ELEONORA DAL GRANDE, ANNE W. TAYLOR, TIFFANY K. GILL, ROBERT ADAMS AND GARY A. WITTERT. Association between soft drink consumption and asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among adults in Australia. Respirology (2012) 17, 363-369.