It’s about time you remove sugary drinks from your diet because believe it or not, these beverages are causing tens of thousands of deaths per year. In fact, sweetened beverages kill more people in Mexico than violent crimes.
In a study recently published in the journal Circulation, the researchers revealed that drinks with high sugar content may be linked to death toll as high as 184,000 each year worldwide. As the study estimates, sodas and energy drink consumption causes 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 from cardiovascular disease and 6,450 from cancers.
“It should be a global priority to substantially reduce or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet,” said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, senior author of the study and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Massachusetts. “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.”
Sadly, Mexico has the highest death rate linked to sugary beverages. Actually, the number of deaths caused by sodas – which is 405 deaths per million adults – exceeds the number of deaths from crimes in the Latin American country where roughly 15,649 murders were recorded in 2014.
As in the United States, the toll is staggering 125 deaths per 1 million adults.
To calculate the results, the scientists collected data from dietary surveys and studies that focused on the effect of sugary drinks on body mass index, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. The researchers used data from 62 national dietary surveys, which included more than 600,000 people in 51 countries surveyed between 1980 and 2010. They also used the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors 2010, a periodically updated international analysis to confirm disease-specific causes of death.
However, as tangible as this study sounds, some might argue that it doesn't prove beyond a doubt that sugar-sweetened beverages are causing all the deaths – particularly since the researchers did not conduct a randomized controlled trial.
“You could say that this isn't perfect, but I think that if the beverage industry says we're not sure that soda causes obesity, they're just putting their heads in the sand," Mozaffarian said. "And we're not including all the other health impacts, like back pain, gallstones [and] joint disease, that are caused by obesity.”
Although some soda manufacturers are calling this study just “estimation,” these findings will hopefully enlighten people – especially the young generation – who guzzle down dozens of teaspoons of sugar in the name of energy drinks and sodas to cool off the summer heat, without realizing the hazardous effects these beverages have on their long-term health.