Soft drink intake associated with Chronic Bronchitis

It is no secret that consuming a large amount of high calorie, high sugar, soft-drinks is bad for your health (just ask Jamie Oliver). Proven links between fizzy drink intake and Obesity, Type-2 Diabetes, Heart Failure, Gout (yes Gout), and many other ailments one would rather avoid, already exist. Chronic Bronchitis however, is one disease you may not associate with high soft drink intake. But a statistically significant link between the two is exactly what one group of U.S researches has shown.Soft Drink

More specifically the study, recently published in the Nutrition Journal, has shown is that the intake of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) sweetened soft drinks is directly associated with an increased prevalence and risk of chronic bronchitis in U.S adults. And that those adults who drink non-diet soda five or more times per week are nearly twice (1.8 times) as likely to develop chronic bronchitis as their counter parts indulging just once or twice a month, independent of whether or not these individuals smoke.

HFCS, a processed sweetener made from corn syrup, is commonly used as an alternative to sucrose. It became popular in the U.S. in the early 1970s when increased sugar taxation by the U.S. government made it a  cheaper alternative to using sucrose in soft drinks. Today a huge amount of soft drinks contain HFCS including Capri-Sun, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Orangena, Sprite and Powerade.

The biochemical link between HFCS and chronic bronchitis has yet to be proven. One hypothesis is that high concentrations of intestinal fructose (such as those endemic in the U.S. diet), causes modifications in dietary protein fragments (peptides), turning them into antigen. And that this antigen is capable of triggering an adverse immune response via the AGE/RAGE (Advanced Glycation End products/Receptor for AGE) pathway, causing bronchitis.

If this wasn’t concerning enough, chronic bronchitis is not the only respiratory disease to be shown to have an association with HFCS consumption. Several recently published studies have shown clear links between the prevalence of Asthma and soft drink intake in young children and teenagers in the U.S.

So if there wasn’t enough reason already, perhaps it’s time we cut back on those fizzy drinks.

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Russell Etherington

Scientific publisher with keen interest in the communication and dissemination of science

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