Is that Sugary Drink Worth Your Life?

soda-cansPeople are drinking more sugar-sweetened beverages than ever before—and it’s slowly killing us. After analyzing three decades of dietary information for more than 600,000 adults in 51 countries worldwide, researchers at Tufts University in Boston believe all those sodas, energy drinks, fruit drinks, and teas add up to about 184,000 deaths every year.

Sugary drinks are among the biggest offenders in a high-sugar diet. A single can of soda may contain up to ten teaspoons of sugar, which is nearly twice the amount recommended by the World Health Organization for an entire day. And the more sugar we eat, the higher our risk of obesity and obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and even premature death—which is exactly what this new data confirms.

Among the 20 most heavily populated countries, the United States ranked second only to Mexico in the number of annual deaths attributable to high-sugar beverages (125 per 1 million adults). In addition, researchers determined that younger adults were at a greater risk than their older counterparts, possibly due to more exposure to sugary drinks as children.

“This is not complicated,” said senior author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian in a university press release. “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.”

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The U.S. Obesity Epidemic is Getting Worse, Not Better

man_blood_pressureWe know that carrying too much weight is unhealthy. We know that the standard American diet (SAD) is loaded with unhealthy fats and sugar, both of which contribute to obesity. And we know that being obese is linked to serious health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Yet, despite all this, Americans are getting heavier.

A Washington University School of Medicine study recently determined that our struggle with weight gain is getting worse—with more than two-thirds of adults either overweight or obese. When compared to a similar study conducted just 20 years ago, researchers saw a significant jump in the percentage of overweight or obese adults: up from 63% of men and 55% percent of women to nearly 75% of men and 67% of women.

“We see this as a wake-up call to implement policies and practices designed to combat overweight and obesity,” said study author Lin Yang. He believes education still plays a key role in combating obesity, but that cities and workplaces can also get involved by encouraging healthy eating and offering more opportunities for physical activity.

The study, published last month in JAMA Internal Medicine, also found that adults who are obese now outnumber those who are merely overweight. Data was used from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and looked at the records of more than 15,000 men and women 25 years and older.

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