Sugary drinks kill 184,000 people every year

The results of the research are terrifying and suggest that sugary drinks can cause as many deaths as the flu

Web Desk June 30, 2015
PHOTO COURTESY: naypong / Fotolia

Consumption of sugary and soda drinks peaks during Ramazan. But a new study shows that it may be time to rethink our consumption of the beverages which cause around 184,000 deaths worldwide annually – 25,000 in the United States alone.

The study – whose result was presented in a 2013 meeting – collected data of deaths from diabetes, heart disease and cancer, that according to the scientists can be the consequences of consuming a lot of sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, energy drinks and iced teas.

The results are terrifying and suggest that sugary drinks can cause as many deaths as the flu.

"It should be a global priority to substantially reduce or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet," said Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, an author of the study and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

There is evidence that sugary drinks contribute to obesity and that obesity contributes to people's risk of these diseases, Mozaffarian said. Previous studies found that obesity-related diseases cause more than 17 million deaths per year.

Gitanjali Singh, an assistant professor at Tufts, attempted to tease out the contribution that sugary drinks make to this global burden of obesity-related deaths. They calculated that there are 133,000 deaths yearly from type 2 diabetes; 45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease; and 6,450 deaths from cancer.

"Among the 20 countries with the highest estimated sugar-sweetened beverage-related deaths, at least eight were in Latin America and the Caribbean, reflecting the high intakes in that region of the world," Singh said.

Astoundingly, it was also found out that 10 per cent of Mexico’s population has diabetes due to which 30 per cent deaths of people aging under 45 are occurred by this deadly disease, as often these patients consume high intake of sugary drinks. Mexico had the highest death rate attributable to sugar-sweetened beverages, the researchers said.

Conversely, in Japan, where unsweetened teas are among the most popular beverages, deaths from sugary drinks are negligible.

Americans on average consume 22.2 teaspoons of added sugar (equal to 355 calories) per day, on average, and sugar-sweetened beverages are the primary source of this sugar, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). The sugars are added to foods and drinks to improve their taste but provide no nutritional benefit, only calories, thus contributing to weight gain and heart disease, the AHA said.

How soda can mess with one’s health

A 335 millilitres serving of any soda has around 10 teaspoons of sugar, the American Diabetes Association revealed, recommending that people shun consuming such drinks to prevent diabetes.

The beverage industry remains skeptical of the findings.

"This study does not show that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages causes chronic diseases and the authors themselves acknowledge that they are at best estimating effects of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption," the American Beverage Association, a trade association that represents the US non-alcoholic beverage industry, said in a statement.

Mozaffarian said the connection between sugary drinks and obesity is well established. "They [the industry] have their heads in the sand," Mozaffarian told Live Science.

This article originally appeared in Discovery News


Ajoy Dasurkayasthsa | 8 years ago | Reply Denmark has brought in a "fat tax", Hungary a "junk food tax" and France a tax on all sweetened drinks. Peru intends to add levies to junk food and Ireland may also introduce such taxes. Mexico Nears Junk Food Tax”. Now, BMA, UK’s proposed 20% tax on sugary-drinks is a welcome move to abate obesity in UK.
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