Research Links Sugary Drinks to Deaths and Type 2 Diabetes

by Sandy Todd Webster on Jul 01, 2013

Food for Thought

Two recent research studies are fairly damning for sugar-sweetened beverages’ impact on health and well-being.

Sugary Drinks Linked With 180,000 Deaths Globally

An unpublished study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions showed that sugar-sweetened beverages may be linked to about 180,000 deaths in the world each year. Using data from the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study, researchers connected intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to 133,000 diabetes deaths, 44,000 deaths from cardiovascular diseases and 6,000 cancer deaths. Seventy-eight percent of these deaths were in low- and middle-income countries. Caribbean and Latin American countries had among the highest death rates from diabetes due to sugary-beverage consumption.

“In the U.S., our research shows that about 25,000 deaths in 2010 were linked to drinking sugar-sweetened beverages,” said Gitanjali M. Singh, PhD, co-author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

One Extra Sugary Drink per Day Increases Type 2 Diabetes Risk

The bottomless sugary-beverage refill used to seem like a good idea economically, but in the long run it may cost consumers much more in health dollars and quality of life. Research published online April 24 in Diabetologia (doi: 10.1007/s00125-013-2899-8) showed that risk of type 2 diabetes increased by 22% for people drinking one extra 12-ounce sugar-sweetened drink (e.g., drinking one beverage versus none or drinking two versus one).

Data on consumption of juices and nectars, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and artificially sweetened soft drinks was collected from eight European cohorts taking part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition; this study drew on data from a subset of about 28,500 participants.

The risk of diabetes among sugar-sweetened soft-drink consumers in Europe was similar to that found in a meta-analysis of previous studies conducted mostly in North America (this analysis described a 25% higher risk of type 2 diabetes associated with one 12-ounce daily increment of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption), said the authors.

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.