Home Science Sugary drinks kill an estimated 184,000 people annually, report says

Sugary drinks kill an estimated 184,000 people annually, report says

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New research has quantified the unhealthy effects of sugary drinks,
by linking consumption of the beverages to the death deaths of as many
as 184,000 people each year. Following on from a recent study indicating
alarming obesity levels in the US,
the new research provides further evidence that people need to start
watching what they eat (and drink) to avoid serious risks to their
health.

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

The researchers based their estimates on data sourced from 62 dietary
surveys conducted between 1980 and 2010 involving over 600,000
participants. Their analysis of consumption levels of beverages in 187
countries, combined with the findings on the harm of sweetened beverages
from other academic studies, led them to calculate that 184,000 deaths
in 2010 from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer were
attributable to the impact of sweet beverages.

So what kind of
sugary drinks do you need to look out for? In the study, sugar-sweetened
beverages were defined to include sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit drinks,
sports and energy drinks, sweetened iced teas and sugary home-made
drinks containing a minimum of 210 kilojoules per 235ml serve. While 100
percent fruit juice wasn’t included in the analysis, it’s worth
pointing out that it also has a pretty high energy count.

The
study, conducted by researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition at
Tufts University, broke down 2010’s sugar-related deaths linked to
beverage consumption as follows: 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000
from cardiovascular disease, and 6,450 deaths from cancer.

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The research, published this week in Circulation,
indicates that the risk of sugary drinks varies greatly between
different countries due to differing consumption levels. The outliers
are Japan, where it’s estimated sweet beverages were responsible in 2010
for less than 1 percent of deaths in people aged over 65, and Mexico,
where 24,000 deaths in total were linked to sugary drinks in the same
year.

The death toll is highest in countries with low or middle
incomes, with nations in the Caribbean and Latin America accounting for
more than three quarters of the estimated beverage-related deaths each
year. Also particularly at risk are young adults, who are more likely to
develop chronic diseases due to their over-consumption of sweet
beverages.

“The health impact of sugar-sweetened beverage intake
on the young is important because younger adults form a large sector of
the workforce in many countries, so the economic impact of
sugar-sweetened beverage-related deaths and disability in this age group
can be significant,” said Gitanjali Singh, the study’s lead author.

“It
also raises concerns about the future. If these young people continue
to consume high levels as they age, the effects of high consumption will
be compounded by the effects of ageing, leading to even higher death
and disability rates from heart disease and diabetes than we are seeing
now”.

Source: Sciencealert

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