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Dr. Tori Hudson, Portland, Oregon, Blog Healthline Blog

There’s probably no health benefit to soft drinks, and amongst the negatives is the association between carbonated soft drinks and low bone density and bone fractures in children and young adults.  This relationship has not been as clear for postmenopausal women until now.

A famous study, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) was investigated in a secondary analysis to evaluate the association between soft drinks and osteoporotic fractures in postmenopausal women.   Data was collected from the observational part of the WHI whereby they sent questionnaires to over 72,000 women who provided information on caffeinated and caffeine free soda intake during the follow up year after 5 years of the observational study.  Questions were asked about health behaviors, hospitalizations, fractures and bone mineral density measurements when available.  Particular attention was given to reports of hip fracture.  Soft drink dietaries were categorized as none; up to 2 per week; 2.1-5 per week; 5.1-14 per week and more than 14 per week.

A variety of statistical models was used to adjust for those issues that could also have influence on bone density and fractures.  A total of over 72,000 women were followed with an average duration of 11.9 years.   A total of 2,578 women reported hip fracture, which was 3.5% of the sample size.  This resulted in a 26% increased risk of hip fracture in women who drank on average 14 or more soft drink servings per week in most of the analytic models, but caffeinated beverages were not as significant.  The overall hazard ratio was 1.45 which means that high soda consumption has a modest impact on increasing the risk of fracture in postmenopausal women.

Commentary:  Some would say this study reflects a weak association between high consumption of soda drinks and osteoporotic fractures in postmenopausal women.  I would say…any increased risk that we can mitigate, is good news, and can anyone really lay out a logical argument for the benefits of that much soda pop??  This is 2 or more soda pops per day!!  Can any good come of this?  Empty calories, excess sugars, weight management hazards, type 2 diabetes hazards.  Any habit we can modify that brings about better health…well…I’m just up for that…and it doesn’t even mean you can never drink soda pop.  While I don’t drink soda pop…I have my favorite treats as well…but the point is…a treat.  Not a regular excess indulgence.  Bring on the organic dark chocolate please.

Reference: Kremer P, Laughlin G, Shadyab A, et al.  Association between soft drink consumption and osteoporotic fractures among postmenopausal women: The Women’s Health Initiative.  Menopause 2019;26:1234-1241

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