“Our results provide further support to limit intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and to replace them with other beverages, preferably water, to improve overall health and longevity.”
These are the words of Vasanti Malik, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and lead author of an extensive study of the relation between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and premature death. Malik and colleagues have analyzed the results of two previous studies comprising more than 80 000 American women between 1980 and 2014, and around 38 000 American men between 1986 and 2014.
In short, the study, published March 18 in the scientific journal Circulation, concludes that the more sugar-sweetened beverages people consumed, the higher their risk of premature death – particularly from cardiovascular disease and, to a lesser extent, from cancer. It also found that the risk was more pronounced among women.
Earlier studies have shown links between drinking sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain and a higher risk of type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, but this is one of the first studies looking at the connection between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and early death.
The following is quoted from a press release published by the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health on March 18 (SSB=Sugar Sweetened Beverage):
“There was a particularly strong link between drinking sugary beverages and increased risk of early death from cardiovascular disease. Compared with infrequent SSB drinkers, those who drank two or more servings (12 oz can – my comment) per day of SSBs had a 31% higher risk of early death from CVD. Each additional serving per day of SSBs was linked with a 10% increased higher risk of CVD-related death.”
When the researchers looked at the association between drinking artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) and risk of early death, they found that replacing SSBs with ASBs was linked with a moderately lower risk of premature death. But they also found a link between high intake levels of ASBs (at least four servings/day) and a slightly increased risk of both overall and CVD-related mortality among women, so they cautioned against excessive ASB consumption.
I have said it before, so there´s nothing new under the sun: Replace your sugary/sweetened sodas and energy drinks with water. It takes away a lot of empty calories from your diet, and it is one of the simplest and most rewarding investments you can do in a healthy life. Your body will thank you. And you don´t even have to leave the bubbles and the taste – there are so many great tasting flavored sparkling waters to choose from. My best choice as a thirst quencher is a naturally/organically flavored sparkling water, and of course there´s a Good Idea with every meal in my house.
..and here´s a link to my previous blog post with three good reasons to drop the soda.