Is Soda Consumption Impacting Women’s Bone Health?
We all know that drinking too much soda can impact our bodies negatively. But a new study explores the association of soft drink consumption with osteoporosis among post menopausal women. Here’s what researchers have found.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition where your bones progressively become weak and brittle. It predominately affects older adults and increases the risk of fractures as the individuals bone mineral density becomes reduced. There are numerous risk factors including age, sex and lifestyle habits like alcohol consumption and tobacco use.
The Study on Soda and Bone Health
Published in the journal Menopause, researchers focused on the impact of soft drink consumption on bone health in women, specifically in the bone density of the spine and hip. The also studied the relationship between soda intake and the risk of hip fracture over a 16 year follow up period.
Using data from the Women’s Health Initiative, an ongoing national study that involved 161,808 postmenopausal women ( using data from 72,342 for this study), participants provided detailed health information and questionnaire data outlining lifestyle factors, including diet. The questionnaire including specific questions regarding the intake of caffeinated and caffeine-free soft drinks.
The authors write, “For total soda consumption, both minimally and fully adjusted survival models showed a 26% increased risk of hip fracture among women who drank on average 14 servings per week or more compared with no servings.” This was only statistically significant for caffeine-free sodas, which produced a 32% increase in risk. Although the pattern was similar for caffeinated sodas, it did not reach a statistical significance.
This significant link was only present when comparing the women who drank the most soda – at least two drinks per day – with those who drank none. The scientists found no links between soda consumption and bone mineral density.
The study authors believe that this might be because added sugars have a “negative impact on mineral homeostasis and calcium balance.” Another theory the authors outline concerns carbonation, which is the process of dissolving carbon dioxide in water. “It results in the formation of carbonic acid that might alter gastric acidity and, consequently, nutrient absorption.” However, they are quick to explain that “whether this factor plays a role in these findings is yet to be explored.”
More research is needed, as researchers note that the study results are not definitive and the study had limitations.