Sugar-sweetened drinks are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease death. This link was strongest in women. The study also found that drinking one artificially sweetened drink compared to one sugary drink lowered the risk of premature death. But consuming four or more artificially sweetened beverages increased the risk of mortality.
Lead author of the study Vasanti Malik explained, “Our results provide further support to limit intake of SSBs and to replace them with other beverages, preferably water, to improve overall health and longevity.”
Studies have shown that sugar-sweetened beverages – carbonated and non-carbonated – are the single largest source of added sugar in an Americans diet. Although the consumption of these beverages has reduced over the years, 10 percent of many American adults’ calories still come from these beverages.
Previous studies have linked sugar-sweetened beverages to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Not many studies have looked at the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and mortality.
There was a particularly strong link between sugary beverage consumption and mortality from cardiovascular disease. Compared to infrequent sweet beverage drinkers, consumers of these beverages had a 31 percent higher risk of death by cardiovascular disease. With each additional beverage consumed, there was a 10 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, concluded, “These findings are consistent with the known adverse effects of high sugar intake on metabolic risk factors and the strong evidence that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, itself a major risk factor for premature death. The results also provide further support for policies to limit marketing of sugary beverages to children and adolescents and for implementing soda taxes because the current price of sugary beverages does not include the high costs of treating the consequences.”
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