Winifred Ogbebo and Victor Okeke
A new study published by the journal of the American Heart Foundation (AHA) has found that sugary drinks may be responsible for more than 184,000 adult deaths worldwide each year.
The AHA recommends consuming no more than 450 calories from sugar-sweetened beverages each week – the equivalent to less than three 12 oz cans of cola.
However, a 2011 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that males consume an average of 178 calories from sugary drinks daily, while women consume around 103 calories from sugary drinks each day.
Lead author, Prof. Gitanjali Singh, research assistant professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy of Tufts University in Boston, MA, and colleagues set out to estimate the annual rates of global deaths and disabilities caused by sugary drink consumption.
The team analyzed 1980-2010 sugary drink consumption data from 62 surveys involving 611,971 people over 51 countries. Specifically, they focused on how sugary drink consumption affects the number of deaths from diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
In their study, sugary drinks were defined as sugar-sweetened sodas, sports/energy drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened ice teas and homemade sugary drinks. They excluded 100 per cent fruit juice.
The researchers also gathered data on national availability of sugar among 187 countries during the 20-year period.
Overall, the data allowed them to assess how consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages varies by age, gender and population and how this impacts death rates.