To Your Health
April, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 04)
Sugary Drinks Increase Risk of Early Death?
By Editorial Staff
Sodas, sports drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages can satisfy a sweet tooth and refresh (at least temporarily)* on a hot summer day. But are those good enough reasons to risk early death? According to research published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, heavy daily consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages increases the risk of early death (any cause) by 28 percent, heart disease death by 31 percent, and death from cancer by 16 percent.
Overall, early death risk increased with the frequency of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption: more frequent drinking meant more likely to die from one of the above causes during the study period.
Researchers tracked sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and health outcomes in nearly 110,000 men and women from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (men) and Nurses' Health Study (women). The former study tracked participants from 1986-2014, while the latter tracked participants from 1980-2014. Non-beverage dietary factors, physical activity and obesity were all accounted for to ensure that health outcomes / early death were independently associated with sugar-sweetened beverage consumption.
Not worried about these results because you don't regularly drink sugar-sweetened beverages? That's great, but you may be in the minority. In fact, the AHA researchers note that sugar-sweetened beverages constitute the single largest source of added sugar in the American diet. Talk to your doctor for more information about the health risks associated with sugar-sweetened beverages (and sugar in general).
* Sugar intake can trigger dehydration similar to sodium (salt) intake. That means drinking soda or other sugar-sweetened drinks actually increases your need to consume water.