Sugary Drinks Tied to Nearly 200,000 Deaths a Year

A new study says consumption of sugary drinks, such as soda and sports drinks, may be associated with more than 184,000 worldwide adult deaths per year. The findings were published in the journal Circulation.

Researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University analyzed data on sugary drink consumption from 1980 to 2010 from data in 62 studies involving 611,971 people. The team narrowed their focus to the connection between sugary drink consumption and deaths resulting from diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

Sugary drinks were defined as sugar-sweetened sodas, sports/energy drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened ice teas and homemade sugary drinks—100 percent fruit juice was exempt. The availability of sugar within 187 countries over 20 years was factored into the analysis. Variables such as age, gender and population were also considered.

Ultimately, the study authors estimated that sugary drink consumption in 2010 was responsible for around 184,450 deaths worldwide, with 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,450 deaths from cancer. Countries with more people living on lower and middle incomes had a higher rate (76 percent) of sugary drink related-deaths. In the top 20 most populated countries, Mexico ranked No. 1 with 405 sugary drink related-deaths per 1 million adults. The U.S. was second with an estimated 125 deaths per 1 million adults. Eight of the top 20 countries were in either Latin America or the Caribbean.

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