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Sugary Drinks Linked to 184,000 Deaths Worldwide

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sugary drinks Soda, energy drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are taking their toll. According to a new global analysis, these drinks may lead to an estimated 184,000 adult deaths each year.

For the purposes of the study, sugary drinks included sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, iced teas and sports or energy drinks, as well as homemade sugary drinks. One hundred percent fruit juice wasn’t included.

First, the researchers estimated deaths and disabilities in 2010. This included data on diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Next, they used 62 diet surveys to estimate consumption. These were conducted between 1980 and 2010. The surveys included nearly 612,000 individuals across 51 countries. They also collected other information, such as availability of sugar in 187 countries.

Then, the researchers analyzed other published evidence on the harmful effects of sugary beverages. This allowed the investigators to calculate the direct impact on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

The authors estimate that, in 2010, sugar-sweetened beverages consumption may have been responsible for approximately:

  • 133,000 deaths from diabetes
  • 45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease
  • 6,450 deaths from cancer

Of the 20 most heavily populated countries, Mexico had the highest death rate attributable to sugar-sweetened beverages with an estimated 405 deaths per million adults (24,000 total deaths). The U.S. ranked second with an estimated with an estimated 125  deaths per million adults (25,000 total deaths).

Overall, in younger adults, the percent of chronic disease attributed to sugar-sweetened beverages was higher than the percent in older adults.

“Many countries in the world have a significant number of deaths occurring from a single dietary factor, sugar-sweetened beverages. It should be a global priority to substantially reduce or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., senior author of the study.

SOURCE: Sugary Drinks Linked to High Death Tolls Worldwide. News Release. Tufts University. June 2015.

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