If you’re looking to increase your life expectancy, eliminating sugary drinks from your diet may be the best place to start, according to a new study. The study, the first to examine the global mortality rate associated with sweetened beverages like soda, fruit drinks and energy drinks, found that more than 180,000 deaths per year are caused by sugary drinks alone, with about 25,000 of those deaths taking place in the U.S.
The study looked at data from almost 612,000 people who participated in dietary studies in 51 countries between 1980 and 2010. The definition of “sugary drinks” used in the study included soda, sports drinks, fruit drinks, homemade sugary drinks and sweetened iced tea, but excluded fruit juice. The researchers compared this information with the availability of sugary drinks in each country and death rates from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
The study found that sugary drinks contributed to more than 180,000 deaths per year around the world, with diabetes accounting for the lion’s share of the responsibility with 133,000 total deaths. Forty-five thousand deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,450 deaths from cancer could also be attributed to sugary drinks alone. The country that suffered the most from the impact of sugary drinks was Mexico, where 405 adults out of every million died from causes related to sugary drink consumption.
“This is not complicated,” lead researcher Dariush Mozaffarian of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University told the press. “There are no health benefits from sugar-sweetened beverages, and the potential impact of reducing consumption is saving tens of thousands of deaths each year.”
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