Sugary Beverages Increase BMI-Related Deaths
The consumption of large amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, fruit juices and sports drinks has been associated with an increase in body-mass index (BMI, a measure of body fat), which in turn is linked to chronic disease and death. Gitanjali Singh, PhD, from Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues presented a report at the Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions, showing that in 2010, more than 180,000 deaths were reported worldwide, which were attributed to consumption of sugary drinks.
The international epidemiologic study was part of the Global Burden of Disease study, which used data from 114 national dietary surveys, involving more than 60% of the world’s population. The researchers found that about three-fourths of the obesity-related deaths were due to diabetes, and there rest were related to cardiovascular disease and cancer. They also found that almost 80% of deaths related to sugary drink consumption involved people from low and middle-income countries. Mexico had the greatest number of deaths while Japan had the lowest rates.
Dr. Singh states that their study emphasizes the need for doctors to encourage patients to limit their consumption of sugary drinks. American Heart Association (AHA) spokesperson Rachel K. Johnson, PhD, from the University of Vermont, Burlington comments that although previous studies have already shown that sugary beverages are linked with excess weight gain, the new study shows that they can also be associated with chronic diseases that lead to death.
The AHA recommends limiting consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to 36 oz a week or 450 calories per day. The AHA and American Diabetes Association also released a 2012 position statement, saying that artificial sweeteners can be used to help people reduce their calorie and added sugar intake, without consuming extra calories to replace the lower calories in the diet drinks.
Busko, M. Sugary Drinks May Explain 180,000 Deaths Worldwide Each Year. Medscape.