People 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.”