Soft Drinks Linked to Knee Arthritis in Men
Sugary soft drinks have been blamed for a growing list of health problems. Now you can add knee osteoarthritis to the list. This summer, Harvard-based researchers published the results of a study which concluded that soft drink consumption is associated with worsening knee osteoarthritis, especially among men. Furthermore, the study found that the more soda some men drank, the faster the progression of the deterioration of the cartilage in their knee joints.
Osteoarthritis involves the gradual breakdown of cartilage in the joints, which leads to pain and discomfort. As it progresses, osteoarthritis may lead to a loss of mobility. Arthritis is one of the hallmarks of aging, but it’s also been linked to obesity and other factors. Researchers accounted for body weight differences, as well as gender and other possible contributing factors, and found that among men, drinking sweetened soft drinks was independently linked to the progression of knee arthritis.
I’ve long maintained that added sugar in the diet is essentially toxic. This latest finding adds to the mounting evidence in support of that conclusion. In this four-year study, men who drank more sugary soft drinks experienced faster knee arthritis progression than men who drank fewer sodas. Among obese men, drinking just five sodas a week, or more, was linked to arthritis progression. That means that drinking just one soft drink every day could accelerate knee osteoarthritis in men. For reasons that remain unclear, soft drink consumption did not appear to be linked to arthritis progression among women.
Lu B, Ahmad O, Zhang FF, Driban JB, Duryea J, Lapane KL, et al. Soft drink intake and progression of radiographic knee osteoarthritis: data from the osteoarthritis initiative. BMJ Open. 2013 Jul 19;3(7). pii: e002993. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002993. Print 2013.