Lifestyle & Belief

Sugary drinks cause 180,000 deaths annually, study says


High-fructose corn syrup, a common sweetener found in soft drinks, has been found to interfere with memory and learning, according to a study published on May 15, 2012.


Scott Olson

Put down the Coke. New research links sugar-sweetened beverages, which include not just soda but also sports drinks and fruit drinks, with 180,000 deaths worldwide. The findings came from data analyzed from the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study, HealthDay reported. The analysis was conducted by  Gitanjali M. Singh from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Sugary, syrupy "healthy" apple juice and similar drinks can cause as many as 133,000 diabetes deaths, 44,000 heart disease deaths and 6,000 cancer deaths each year, the research says. 

More from GlobalPost: Diet soda leads to depression, new study shows

"It is a [surprisingly] large number of deaths—tens of thousands of deaths—that are being caused by consuming sugary beverages," Singh told HeartWire. Since most of the deaths are from diabetes, the research "suggests that limiting sugary-beverage intake is an important step in reducing diabetes deaths," she added.

It should probably come as no surprise that  the American Beverage Association, the trade group representing non-alcohol drinks, disagrees. “This abstract, which is not peer-reviewed nor published in a way where its methodology can be fully evaluated, is more about sensationalism than science," the ABA posted on its website.

However, previous peer-reviewed research has in fact linked sugary drinks with obesity and other health problems. Even light soda has been shown to increase diabetes risk.