Drinking Soda May Increase Fracture Risk in Women

Postmenopausal women with a diet high in soda were more likely to sustain osteoporotic hip fracture in a recent study.

“High consumption of soft drinks has been associated with lower bone mineral density among postmenopausal women. This study explores the association of soft drink consumption, osteoporosis, and incidental fractures in this population,” the researchers posited in their study, published in the journal Menopause.

Data were collected from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study on 72,342 postmenopausal women with more than 11.9 years of median follow-up. The researchers implemented multiple linear regression models to establish cross-sectional associations between soft drink intake and hip and lumbar spine bone mineral density, and Cox proportional hazards regression models were employed to determine the relationship between soft drink intake and incident hip fractures.

The data showed that while low soda intake did not put women at higher fracture risk, those who drink soda in larger quantities may be upping their chances.

“Based on our results, low or regular levels of soda consumption would not increase the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women,” said lead study author Pedro Kremer, MD, MSC, MPH, in an email to Reuters. “However, after a certain amount -the equivalent of two cans per day- the risk would be significantly higher.”

Dr. Kremer and colleagues found no association between soft drink intake and hip or lumbar spine t scores. Over the course of 700,388 person-years of follow-up, a total of 2,578 hip fractures were sustained.

“Adjusted hazard ratios for incident hip fracture for the highest consumption category compared with no consumption were 1.26 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-1.56) for total soda and 1.32 (95% CI 1.00-1.75) for caffeine-free soda,” the researchers observed.

Caffeinated soda and incident hip fracture were not correlated (hazard ratio = 1.16; 95% CI 0.86-1.57), and in fully adjusted models, no linear trend was observed in hip fracture risk across different soda consumption levels, which researchers said pointed to a threshold effect.

“A sensitivity analysis using adjudicated hip fractures showed significant associations for all three soda exposures in the highest intake groups,” the authors added.

The researchers concluded that drinking more than two soft drink servings daily may increase hip fracture risk among postmenopausal women.

Dr. Kremer told Reuters that cutting down on soda consumption is only one way women can lower their fracture risk.

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