Consumption of soda and other sugary drinks might be linked to some 180,000 deaths a year worldwide, including 25,000 in the U.S., according to a new study. The findings might help to bolster the arguments of advocates seeking to ban the sale of certain large-size sugary drinks.
In the study, presented this week at an annual meeting of the American Heart Association, researchers looked for connections between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (including sodas, sports drinks, and fruit drinks with added sugar) and deaths from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
They determined that 130,000 diabetes deaths, 44,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease, and 6,000 cancer deaths that year were attributable to consumption of those beverages. Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly Mexico, had among the highest death rates from diabetes due to sugary drink consumption, the authors concluded.
Sugary beverages are believed to contribute to obesity, which in turn plays a major role in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers, including pancreatic cancer.
The current findings haven't yet been peer-reviewed or published, but they're still likely to add fuel to the debate raging in several cities over whether local governments should limit the sale of large soft drinks and other high-calorie, sugary drinks. In New York City, a proposed ban by Mayor Mike Bloomberg was struck down by a Manhattan judge on March 11, but the city has vowed to appeal the decision.
Learn how to cut down on added sugar.
180,000 deaths worldwide may be associated with sugary soft drinks [abstract presented at AHA scientific meeting March 19, 2013]