Study: Sugar-sweetened beverages linked to as many as 184K adult deaths per year

Researchers focused on sugar-sweetened soda, sports, energy, and fruit drinks

(MEDIA GENERAL) – A new study published Tuesday, June 30, 2015 in the journal Circulation says sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and energy drinks can be linked to as many as 184,000 adult deaths each year worldwide.

The large numbers have triggered a growing consensus among doctors and health researchers to fight for regulations and bans against sugary beverages.

Study co-author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University, told NBC News, “It’s time to remove sugary beverages from the food supply.”

“This is a single dietary factor with no intrinsic health value causing tens of thousands of deaths per year,” Mozaffarian said.

The study included analysis of dietary surveys from 51 countries and data on sugar usage from 187 countries. Researchers focused on sugar-sweetened soda, sports and energy drinks and sugar-sweetened fruit drinks.

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Researchers estimated in 2010 sugary drinks were at least partially responsible for the death of more than 180,000 people: 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 from cardiovascular diseases and more than 6,000 from cancer.

The American Beverage Association released a statement, saying the study “does not show that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages causes chronic diseases.”

“America’s beverage companies are doing our part to offer consumers the fact-based information and the beverage options they need to make the right choices for themselves and their families,” the ABA said in a statement.

“You could say that this (study) isn’t perfect,” Mozaffarian said, “but I think that if the beverage industry says we’re not sure that soda causes obesity, they’re just putting their heads in the sand. And we’re not including all the other health impacts (from obesity), like back pain, gallstones, joint disease.”

Mozaffarian noted while there is some controversy surrounding sugar substitutes, they are better for you than sugar – referring to the artificial sweeteners as “a bridge to success.”

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