Study Pinpoints Sugary Drinks' Death Toll

Researchers say they kill 184K a year through diabetes, heart disease, cancer
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2015 2:25 PM CDT
Study Pinpoints Sugary Drinks' Death Toll
A man leaves a 7-Eleven store with a Double Gulp drink.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Need that extra push to kick your soda habit? This might be it: Sugary beverages are responsible for more than 184,000 deaths per year around the world, say researchers at Tufts University. Those include soda, fruit drinks, sports and energy drinks, and iced teas, they write in a post at Science Daily. The sugary drinks were linked to 133,000 deaths from type 2 diabetes, 45,000 from cardiovascular disease, and 6,450 from cancer in 2010. (The new total is an upward revision of an estimate presented previously.) Of those, 25,000 deaths were in the US, which equates to 125 deaths per million adults. The only country that fared worse was Mexico, which reported 405 deaths per million adults. In fact, sugary drinks were blamed for 30% of deaths in Mexicans younger than 45.

The study—based on national consumption trends, death rates, and sugar availability—finds sugary drinks lead to as many deaths per year as the flu, and study author Dariush Mozaffarian says cutting back should be a "global priority," per LiveScience. It's a no-brainer, he says. "There are no health benefits from sugar-sweetened beverages, and the potential impact of reducing consumption is saving tens of thousands of deaths each year." The beverage industry asserts that "this study does not show that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages causes chronic diseases," but Mozaffarian says industry officials "have their heads in the sand." At this point, he tells NBC News, switching to drinks with artificial sweeteners can be considered "a bridge to success." (Some argue sugar is as bad as tobacco.)

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