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Can too many soft drinks mean a shorter life?

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Soft drinks are a popular choice of beverage for many people, but they come with a lot of added sugar, whether real or artificial.

Now, a recent study says too many sweet drinks might do more harm than packing on a few pounds.

The study looked at data on 451,743 people with an average age of 50.

"The striking finding was in nearly a half a million people studied, there was an increased risk of death, from all causes, and from heart disease, with people that consumed sugar-sweetened beverages, sodas, and not surprisingly, artificial sweeteners," said Dr. Mark Hyman, of Cleveland Clinic, who did not take part in the study. 

Results showed people who consumed two or more glasses, per day, of soft drinks, sugar-sweetened, or artificially-sweetened beverages had an increased risk of death from circulatory or digestive diseases.

Hyman reminds us that diet soda is not a "free pass" to consume soda without the negatives.

When it comes to artificial sweeteners, other studies have shown they are linked to obesity, diabetes, increased hunger, and can impact metabolism.

"The diet drinks have artificial sweeteners in them that actually affect your brain chemistry; that make you hungry; that can slow your metabolism; that affect your gut microbiome in ways that are not good," said Hyman.

Instead of soda, or sugar-sweetened drinks, Hyman recommends looking for a sparkling water, or a water with a small amount of fresh fruit added to it.

"The key message is soda, sugar-sweetened beverages, artificial sweeteners, artificially sweetened beverages, are not good for you, they contribute to death from all causes, and heart disease, so we should probably not be consuming them," he said.

Complete results of the study can be found in JAMA Internal Medicine.