Soft Drinks Cause Around 180,000 Deaths A Year, Research Finds

Soft drinks, sodas, “sports” drinks and “fruit-juice” drinks are associated with an estimated 180,000 deaths every year, according to new research from the American Heart Association. The new research was just presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions.


Sugar-sweetened beverages are now widely-consumed throughout the whole world, and in recent years have been tied, more and more, to various diseases. They are especially known for their causative relationship with obesity, which furthers the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and various forms of cancers. “Using data collected as part of the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study, the researchers linked intake of sugar- sweetened beverages to 133,000 diabetes deaths, 44,000 deaths from cardiovascular diseases and 6,000 cancer deaths. Seventy-eight percent of these deaths due to over-consuming sugary drinks were in low and middle-income countries, rather than high-income countries.”

“In the U.S., our research shows that about 25,000 deaths in 2010 were linked to drinking sugar-sweetened beverages,” said Gitanjali M. Singh, Ph.D., co-author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass.

“Researchers calculated the quantities of sugar-sweetened beverage intake around the world by age and sex; the effects of this consumption on obesity and diabetes; and the impact of obesity and diabetes-related deaths. Of nine world regions, Latin America/Caribbean had the most diabetes deaths (38,000) related to the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in 2010. East/Central Eurasia had the largest numbers of cardiovascular deaths (11,000) related to sugary beverage consumption in 2010. Among the world’s 15 most populous countries, Mexico — one of the countries with the highest per-capita consumption of sugary beverages in the world — had the highest death rate due to these beverages, with 318 deaths per million adults linked to sugar-sweetened beverage intake.”

“Japan, one of the countries with lowest per-capita consumption of sugary beverages in the world, had the lowest death rate associated with the consumption of sugary beverages, at about 10 deaths due to per million adults.”

“Because we were focused on deaths due to chronic diseases, our study focused on adults. Future research should assess the amount of sugary beverage consumption in children across the world and how this affects their current and future health,” Singh said.

With the ever-decreasing quality of the human diet, along with increasingly sedentary lifestyles, and the increased intake of harmful chemicals and drugs, it will certainly be “interesting” to observe the health problems that will develop amongst many of those in the younger generations.

Image Credit: Soft Drinks via Wikimedia Commons

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