The beverage industry is already pushing back against a nearly 20-year-long European study that found that consuming soft drinks with sugar or artificial sweeteners was linked with elevated risks of death from all causes.
The American Beverage Association, a lobbying group that represents beverage producers, stands by the safety and quality of its members' products, spokesperson William Dermody told FOX Business on Wednesday.
"Soft drinks are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet and the authors of this study acknowledge their research does not indicate otherwise," Dermody said. "America’s Beverage Companies are committed to innovation and working to reduce the sugar people get from beverages by introducing more options than ever before with less sugar and zero sugar."," Dermody said.
The study was published in the by the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine on Tuesday after examining more than 450,000 people who were recruited as far back as 1992 from 10 European countries. The research linked drinking two glasses of soda a day, made with either sugar or artificial sweeteners, to a higher risk of death.
The researchers reported that drinking artificially sweetened soft drinks was associated with deaths from circulatory diseases like heart attacks, and sugar-sweetened soft drinks were associated with deaths from digestive diseases, which include liver and stomach problems.
"Artificially sweetened soft drinks have few or no calories; however, their long-term physiological and health implications are largely unknown," the study authors wrote.
The study's authors called for public health campaigns telling people to limit their consumption of soft drinks.
The study comes after many major soda brands have expanded their offerings for health-conscious consumers. For example, Pepsi launched Bubly sparkling water, which has flavor with no artificial sweeteners and no calories, in February 2018.
"Today, more than half of all beverages purchased contain no sugar. No one should overconsume sugar, and we stand by the safety and quality of our products," Dermody said.
The study's participants came from Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. None of them reported cancer, heart disease, stroke or diabetes when they were recruited between 1992 and 2000. But 41,693 of the more than 450,000 original recruits people have died since the study began.