Specifically, the researchers found that in 2010, 132 000 deaths from diabetes, 44 000 deaths from CVD, and 6000 deaths from cancer in the world could be attributed to drinking sugar-sweetened soft drinks, fruit juice, or sports beverages.

The study by Dr Gitanjali Singh (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA) and colleagues was reported atEPI|NPAM 2013 , the Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions.

"It is a [surprisingly] large number of deaths—tens of thousands of deaths—that are being caused by consuming sugary beverages," Singh said in an interview. Three-quarters of these BMI-related deaths were from diabetes, which "suggests that limiting sugary-beverage intake is an important step in reducing diabetes deaths," she noted.         Mexico, which has one of the world's highest per capita rates of drinking sweetened drinks, had the greatest number of deaths related to this risk factor: 318 deaths per million adults.  In contrast, Japan, with one of the lowest per-capita rates of imbibing these beverages, had the smallest number of deaths attributable to this risk factor: about 10 deaths per million adults. 

In 2010, drinking sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with about:

 "Sugar-sweetened beverages are a major cause of preventable deaths due to chronic diseases, not only in high-income countries, but also in low and middle-income countries," the group concludes.


Bottom line: Advise patients to avoid sugary drinks


"The evidence base that sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with excess weight gain is well established; what these investigators have done is to take it a step further by saying the excess weight gain that is attributable to sugary drinks actually increases the risk of death from diabetes, CVD, and cancer," A merican Heart Association (AHA) spokesperson Dr Rachel K Johnson (University of Vermont, Burlington) commented.

 soft drink

An Appointment