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Skipping sugary drinks will get you healthier – and could keep you alive!

What has been known to be a large, causal factor when counting the numbers of obese kids and teenagers, has also got an even darker side to it. The number of deaths each year that can be traced back to drinking sodas and drinks with added sugar are a stunning 184,000.

The data showed that there was a clear link between a country’s availability of sugary drinks, and the number of related deaths. The study stretched from 1980 to 2010, over 51 countries and more than 600,000 individuals, and was compared with data on the national availability of sugar in 187 countries.

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 comments on the results: “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.”

The estimated numbers of deaths in 2010 that are likely to have been caused by consuming sugar-sweetened beverages are approximately 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,450 deaths from cancer.

They found that around 76 percent of these deaths could be linked to low- or middle-income countries, and it is a concern that the number of younger adults with chronic disease related to sugary drinks was higher than of older adults. This would in time most likely lead to worse health problems in the next generation as well. Young people also make up the future workforce, which would considerably damage the economic structure of these countries if allowed to continue.

“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 concluded. The study was first published in the journal Circulation in July 29. Fruit juice with no added sugar was not a part of the different types of drinks that were part of the study.

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