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STOP! That oversized soda may KILL you

Last updated on: March 20, 2013 14:24 IST

STOP! That oversized soda may KILL you

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Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to 180,000 deaths in the world each year, scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have claimed.

According to the study presented at the American Heart Association's meeting in New Orleans, researchers found that sugar-sweetened sodas, sports drinks and fruit drinks may  be associated with about 180,000 deaths around the world each year.

Sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to excess body weight, which increases the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers. Using data collected as part of the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study, the researchers linked intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to 133,000 diabetes deaths, 44,000 deaths from cardiovascular diseases and 6,000 cancer deaths.

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Image: Soft drink cups sized (left to right) at 32 ounces and 64 ounces are displayed at a news conference at City Hall in New York. Under a new law proposed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, all soft drinks over 16 ounces will be banned in restaurants and stores that fall under the jurisdiction of New York City
Photographs: Andrew Burton/Reuters

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Seventy-eight per cent of these deaths due to over-consuming sugary drinks were in low and middle-income countries, rather than high-income countries.

"In the United States, our research shows that about 25,000 deaths in 2010 were linked to drinking sugar-sweetened beverages," said Gitanjali M Singh, co-author of the study from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

Researchers calculated the quantities of sugar-sweetened beverage intake around the world by age and sex; the effects of this consumption on obesity and diabetes; and the impact of obesity and diabetes-related deaths.

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Image: Benjamin Lesczynski, 8, of New York, takes a sip of a 'Big Gulp' while protesting the proposed 'soda-ban', that New York City Mayor Michael R Bloomberg has suggested, outside City Hall in New York
Photographs: Andrew Burton/Reuters
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Of the nine world regions, Latin America/Caribbean had the most diabetes deaths (38,000) related to the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in 2010. East/Central Eurasia had the largest numbers of cardiovascular deaths (11,000) related to sugary beverage consumption in 2010.

Among the world's 15 most populous countries, Mexico -- one of the countries with the highest per-capita consumption of sugary beverages in the world -- had the highest death rate due to these beverages, with 318 deaths per million adults linked to sugar-sweetened beverage intake.

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Image: Customer Steven Price sits at a table near a HDTV screen showing the new McDonald's Channel featuring a commerical about McCafe drinks at a McDonald's restaurant, part of the test market for the channel in Norwalk, California
Photographs: Fred Prouser/Reuters
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Japan, one of the countries with lowest per-capita consumption of sugary beverages in the world, had the lowest death rate associated with the consumption of sugary beverages, at about 10 deaths due to per million adults.

"Because we were focused on deaths due to chronic diseases, our study focused on adults. Future research should assess the amount of sugary beverage consumption in children across the world and how this affects their current and future health," Singh said.

Commenting on the study, the American Beverage Association said in a statement, "It does not show that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages causes chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer -- the real causes of death among the studied subjects."

"The researchers make a huge leap when they take beverage intake calculations from around the globe and allege that those beverages are the cause of deaths which the authors themselves acknowledge are due to chronic disease," the statement said.


Image: Andrea Hebert of New York, protests the proposed 'soda-ban', that New York City Mayor Michael R Bloomberg has suggested, outside City Hall in New York
Photographs: Andrew Burton/Reuters
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