Sugar-laden fizzy drinks also increase the risk of early death from any cause by a fifth – and are also fuelling a rise in cancer cases, Harvard experts said.
While swapping to Diet Coke – or diet versions in general – is better, drink more than four a day and you’re still at risk of dying young.
In fact, previous studies have shown that the six common artificial sweeteners – aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, neotame, advantame and acesulfame potassium-k – have all been found to be toxic to gut bacteria.
They’ve been associated with weight gain, slashing the chances of getting pregnant during IVF, tripling the risk of a deadly stroke and dementia, and raising the risk of developing diabetes.
Stick to water
Experts said the best option is to ditch fizzy drinks altogether and stick to water instead.
Dr Vasanti Malik, who led the study at Harvard Uni in the US, said: “Our results provide further support to limit intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and to replace them with other drinks, preferably water, to improve overall health and longevity.
“Drinking water in place of sugary drinks is a healthy choice that could contribute to longevity.
“Diet soda may be used to help frequent consumers of sugary drinks cut back their consumption, but water is the best and healthiest choice.”
Sugar-sweetened beverages include carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks.
Two sugary cans a day increases risk by fifth
In the new study, published in Circulation, looked at data from 80,647 women and 37,716 men who had answered questionnaires about lifestyle factors every two years.
They found that the more sugar-sweetened drinks a person drank, the more his or her risk of early death from any cause increased.
Drinking two a day increased that risk by 14 per cent, while those guzzling more than two a day had a 21 per cent increased risk of early death.
They also had a 31 per cent higher chance of dying young from heart disease.
Each additional drink consumed per day increased the risk by another 10 per cent.
Researchers also found a link between sugary drink consumption and an early death risk from cancer.
FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR