Consumption of sugary drinks may lead to an
estimated 184,000 adult deaths each year worldwide, according to research
published today in the journal Circulation and previously presented as an
abstract at the American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and
Prevention in 2013.
“Many countries in the world have a significant
number of deaths occurring from a single dietary factor, sugar-sweetened
beverages. It should be a global priority to substantially reduce or eliminate
sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D.,
Dr.P.H., senior author of the study and dean of the Friedman School of
Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University in Boston.
In the first detailed global report on the impact
of sugar-sweetened beverages, researchers estimated deaths and disabilities
from diabetes, heart disease, and cancers in 2010. In this analysis, sugar
sweetened beverages were defined as any sugar- sweetened sodas, fruit drinks,
sports/energy drinks, sweetened iced teas, or homemade sugary drinks such as
frescas, that contained at least 50 kcal per 8oz serving. 100 percent fruit
juice was excluded.
Estimates of consumption were made from 62
dietary surveys including 611,971 individuals conducted between 1980 and 2010
across 51 countries, along with data on national availability of sugar in 187
countries and other information. This allowed capture of geographical, gender
and age variation in consumption levels of sugar- sweetened beverages in
different populations. Based on meta-analyses of other published evidence on
health harms of sugar-sweetened beverages, the investigators calculated the
direct impact on diabetes and the obesity-related effects on cardiovascular
disease, diabetes and cancer.
In 2010, the researchers estimate that
sugar-sweetened beverages consumption may have been responsible for approximately:
133,000 deaths from diabetes
45,000 deaths from
“Some population dietary changes, such as
increasing fruits and vegetables, can be challenging due to agriculture, costs,
storage, and other complexities. This is not complicated. 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,” Mozaffarian said.
Overall, in younger adults, the percent of
chronic disease attributed to sugar-sweetened beverages was higher than the
percent in older adults.
The health impact of sugar-sweetened beverage
intake on the young is important because younger adults form a large sector of
the workforce in many countries, so the economic impact of sugar-sweetened
beverage-related deaths and disability in this age group can be significant. It
also raises concerns about the future. If these young people continue to
consume high levels as they age, the effects of high consumption will be compounded
by the effects of aging, leading to even higher death and disability rates from
heart disease and diabetes than we are seeing now.
Singh GM, Micha R, Khatibzadek S, Lim S, Ezzati
M, and Mozaffarian, D. “Estimated global, regional, and national disease
burdens related to sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in 2010.” Circulation.
Published online ahead of print 06-29-15. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.010636