Consumption of Sugary Drinks Linked To Increased Risk Of Cardiovascular Diseases

Drinking Sugary Beverages Linked with Early Death

The researchers further found that every daily serving of sugar-sweetened beverages makes people seven per cent more likely to die early in general and 10 per cent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease.

Soda and other sugary beverages aren't exactly known for being healthy.

Vasanti Malik, research scientist in the department of nutrition in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and lead author of the study, told USA Today. The study probed that question too: it found that substituting one sugary drink per day with one artificially sweetened drink was linked to a slightly slower risk of death, but that very high levels of artificially sweetened drinks aren't good for you either.

Overall, the consumption of sugary beverages was found to increase the risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease by 31% and from cancer by 18% when the group who drank more than two per day was compared with those who had fewer than one per month.

The researchers say their work supports efforts of politicians and others looking to limit the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. A large long-term study of USA men and women led by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has found that sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) may increase the risk of premature death, particularly for women.

It's important to note that the study found only an association and can not prove that drinking soda or other sugary drinks causes early death. While SSB consumption had been dropping in the US over the past decade, in recent years, there's been an increase in consumption among USA adults.

Drinking Sugary Beverages Linked with Early Death
CNN: Study Links Sugary Drinks to Higher Risk of Premature Death

A research team from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health pored over about 25 years of health data collected from two ongoing studies - the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses' Health Study - which together include more than 117,000 U.S. adults.

And what about replacing sugary drinks with artificially sweetened drinks?

Over the course of 28 years in the health professionals study, 13,004 men died: 3,757 from heart issues and 4,062 from cancer. More than two sugar-sweetened beverages, that risk went up 21 percent. It's also possible that results for these study participants might not represent what would happen for other USA adults.

The standard caveats about nutrition research also apply to this study: first, it relied on participants self-reporting what they'd eaten and drank, which is prone to recall errors; second, it's observational, meaning it observes an association between sugary drinks and mortality but can't directly prove the former causes the latter.

William Dermody Jr., a spokesman for the American Beverage Association, said in a statement that "Soft drinks, like all the beverages made by our industry, are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet".

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