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More than two soft drinks a day may increase fracture risk in elderly women

More than two soft drinks a day may increase fracture risk in elderly women

High consumption of soft drinks has been associated with a lower bone mineral density among postmenopausal women. The researchers explored the association of soft drink consumption, osteoporosis, and incidental fractures in this population. They found that postmenopausal women who consumed more than two servings of soft drinks per day on average showed potential associations with a higher risk of hip fracture.

Soda and other carbonated beverages have been linked to lower bone mineral density in some previous studies, researchers note in Menopause. But results have been mixed and prior studies haven’t offered a clear picture of whether sodas are a particular problem. In the current study, researchers didn’t find a connection between lower levels of soda consumption and fracture risk. The increased risk was only present when women consumed more than two sodas daily.

Researchers examined data on soda consumption, bone health and fractures for more than 70,000 women who were 69 years old on average. Multiple linear regression models were used to examine the cross-sectional associations between soft drink consumption and hip and lumbar spine bone mineral density. Half the women were tracked for at least 12 years. Overall, 2,578 hip fractures occurred during follow-up.

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The researchers found that women who drank an average of more than 14 12-ounce servings of sodas a week were 26% more likely to experience a hip fracture during the study period than women who never had soda. And women who had more than 14 servings a week of caffeine-free soda were 32% more likely to experience hip fractures.

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“Based on our results, low or regular levels of soda consumption would not increase the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women,” said Dr Pedro Kremer, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of California San Diego and San Diego State University.

“However, after a certain amount -the equivalent of two cans per day- the risk would be significantly higher,” Kremer said by email.

During menopause and afterwards, the body slows the production of new bone tissue and women can face an increased risk of osteoporosis. When bones become more porous and brittle, women have an increased risk of fractures.

The risk with heavy soda consumption persisted even after researchers accounted for other factors that can impact bone health and fracture risks like the use of osteoporosis medications, diabetes, coffee intake, income, exercise levels, and maternal hip fracture history.

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how heavy soda consumption might directly cause fractures.

One limitation of the study is that researchers lacked data on soda consumption throughout the entire follow-up period, and it’s possible that this might have impacted fracture risk, the study team notes. Also, they weren’t able to distinguish between consumption of diet soda and sugar-sweetened soda.

More research is also needed to examine the impact of sugar and other sweeteners in soda on fracture risk, researchers point out.

Even so, cutting back on soda may have health benefits and be one of several modifiable risk factors that women can control to minimize their risk of fractures, Kremer said.

“It is important to avoid behaviours that could raise the chances (of fractures) even more, like sedentarism, certain medications, tobacco, and unbalanced diets,” Kremer said. “Drinking high amounts of sodas should probably be added to that list of behaviours, as an additional measure to avoid increased chances of hip fractures.”

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Source: Menopause

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