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We know that sugary soft drinks can promote weight gain, but they also can worsen arthritis of the knee, particularly in men. This association was revealed in an analysis of data from more than 2,100 men and women participating in a large osteoarthritis study who had provided information on their eating habits, including their soft drink consumption.
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Tufts Medical Center in Boston and Brown University in Providence tracked the participants at 12, 24, 36 and 48 months after the study began. After taking into consideration other possible contributing factors to osteoarthritis, including body mass index they found that knee arthritis worsened most among men who consumed the most soft drinks per week compared to men who didn’t drink sodas.
Surprisingly, among the men, those with lower BMIs who consumed the most soft drinks had greater progression of their osteoarthritis than men whose BMI was higher. Among the women, a link between soft drink consumption and arthritis progression showed up only in those whose BMI was lowest. The researchers said that they hadn’t determined if the increased arthritis progression was due to the calories in the soft drinks or some other soft drink component.