Sweetened drinks are not generally considered healthy for anyone, but they may be particularly harmful for the elderly.
Researchers report that consumption of both sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened drinks is associated with an increased risk for frailty in women over 60.
The scientists defined frailty as meeting at least three of five criteria: fatigue, reduced strength, low aerobic capacity, having five or more chronic illnesses, and having at least a 5 percent weight loss during the last two years.
The study, in PLOS Medicine, included 71,935 women who had filled out food-frequency and health questionnaires periodically from 1992 to 2014. During that time, 11,559 of the women met the criteria for frailty.
Women who drank two or more servings of sugar-sweetened beverages a day were 32 percent more likely to become frail than those who drank none. For artificially sweetened drinks, the results were similar — a 28 percent increased risk for women who had two or more servings a day. The study controlled for age, smoking, alcohol intake, and many other health and behavioral characteristics.
“This is a very large study with many years of follow-up,” said the lead author, Ellen A. Struijk, a researcher at the Autonomous