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Sugary drinks linked to higher risk of premature death

Cover Media logo Cover Media 18/3/2019
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Frequent consumption of sugary drinks has been linked to higher risk of premature death, researchers report.

Investigators from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have analysed data relating to over 37,000 men in the Health Professionals follow-up study and 80,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study.

Accordingly, they found that drinking sugar-sweetened drinks, such as sodas and sports drinks, was associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and, to a lesser extent, cancers.

"After adjusting for major diet and lifestyle factors, the researchers found that the more sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) a person drank, the more his or her risk of early death from any cause increased," they commented. "Compared with drinking SSBs less than once per month, drinking one to four sugary drinks per month was linked with a one per cent increased risk; two to six per week with a six per cent increase; one to two per day with a 14 per cent increase; and two or more per day with a 21 per cent increase."

The increased early death risk in connection to the consumption of sugary drinks was more pronounced among women than men, though this finding needs to be confirmed with additional investigation.

In light of the results, the researchers explained that even while people have been drinking fewer sugary drinks in the United States in the past decade, soda and other sweetened drinks still represent the single largest source of added sugar in the American diet and their consumption is on the rise around the world. They also emphasised that water is always the best option.

"Drinking water in place of sugary drinks is a healthy choice that could contribute to longevity," said lead author Vasanti Malik. "Diet soda may be used to help frequent consumers of sugary drinks cut back their consumption, but water is the best and healthiest choice."

Full study results have been published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

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