A large, long-term study among U.S. men and women has revealed that the greater quantity of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) people consume, the greater is the risk of them dying prematurely – specifically from cardiovascular disease, and from cancer to a lesser degree. The study also showed that women were at a greater risk of succumbing from the ill effects of drinking SSBs compared to men.
The risk of premature death was found to get reduced by consuming one artificially sweetened beverage (ASB) per day instead of a sugary one, found the study that was led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. However women faced greater risk of mortality from the consumption of four or more ASBs per day.
“Our results provide further support to limit intake of SSBs and to replace them with other beverages, preferably water, to improve overall health and longevity,” said Vasanti Malik, research scientist in the Department of Nutrition and lead author of the study.
The single largest sources of added sugar in the U.S. diet is the SSBs which include carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks, previous studies have shown. Despite an overall drop in the past one decade in SSB consumption has been noticed in the U.S., recently adults have been found to be consuming it to greater degrees. The study claimed that the dietary recommendation of individuals not consuming more than 10 per cent of daily calories from added sugars being almost accounted for by consumption of SSBs alone. According to the authors of the study, there is also an increasing trend among developing countries to consume more of SSB because of greater urbanization and increased marketing of beverages.
Relationship between weight gains and higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke has been established by previous studies. However not just a handful of the studies have examined relations between SSB intake and mortality.
Data from 80,647 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study (1980‒2014) and 37,716 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1986-2014) were analysed in this new study. For both studies, participants answered questionnaires about their lifestyles and health status every two years.
Individuals faced increased risk of early death from any cause increased because of greater intake of SSBs, the study found after adjusting for major diet and lifestyle factors.
Women exhibited more chances of enhanced early death risk related to SSB intake compared to men during the study.
The study also concluded a particularly strong relationship between early death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the greater consumption of sugary beverages. There is a 31 per cent greater chance of early death from CVD for those people who consumed two or more servings per day in comparison to those who were not frequent drinkers of SSB. The study also noted a 10 per cent increase in higher risk of CVD-related death because of intake of each additional serving per day of SSBs.
“These findings are consistent with the known adverse effects of high sugar intake on metabolic risk factors and the strong evidence that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes, itself a major risk factor for premature death. The results also provide further support for policies to limit marketing of sugary beverages to children and adolescents and for implementing soda taxes because the current price of sugary beverages does not include the high costs of treating the consequences,” said Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition.
(Adapted from News.Harvard.Edu)