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Soft Drinks Linked to More Than a 180,000 Deaths

News | Adelaide Bariatric Centre

14 Jul 2015 4:22 PM

Soft Drinks

Research out of Tufts University in Boston estimates that a whopping 133,000 people worldwide died from diabetes alone due to overconsumption of soft drink and other artificially sweetened beverages.

This research, published in the journal Circulation, analysed the global risks of death due to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and common cancers linked to the consumption of soft drink. However, while the study’s author Dariush Mozaffarian found that soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are responsible for life threatening cardiovascular diseases and cancers, its the link between soft drink consumption, diabetes, and death that was truly flabbergasting.

Suicide by Soda

Around 45,000 people died globally from cardiovascular diseases arising from sugary drink consumption and 6,450 people died from cancers, Tufts University researchers estimated.

"Many countries in the world have a significant number of deaths occurring from a single dietary factor, sugar-sweetened beverages. It should be a global priority to substantially reduce or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet," said Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., senior author of the study and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts.

Estimates of consumption were made from 62 previously conducted dietary surveys conducted between 1980 and 2010 across 51 nations, along with data on national availability of sugar in 187 countries. This allowed Dariush Mozaffarian and his team to capture geographical, gender and age variation in consumption levels of sugar-sweetened beverages in different populations.

The Findings

  • People who consume 1-2 cans of soft drink per day have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely consume soft drink.
  • Mexico has the highest death rate due to sugary beverages of any country, with a rate of 450 deaths per million adults. This was nearly three times higher than second place South Africa.
  • The report also found 76% of deaths related to soft drink and other sugary drink consumption occurred in low to middle income countries.
  • Among the 20 countries with the highest estimated sugar-sweetened beverage-related deaths, 8 were in Latin America/Caribbean.
  • In Japan, where unsweetened teas are among the most popular beverages, deaths from sugary drinks are negligible, the least of any developed nation.

It’s important to note that the researchers could not exactly prove a direct cause and effect between soft drink consumption and these 184,000 deaths. Rather, they based their conclusions on national beverage consumption trends, death rates and sugar availability.