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Sugary Drinks Linked to 25,000 Deaths in the US, 180,000 Worldwide

Update Date: Mar 19, 2013 08:48 PM EDT

The consumption of sugary sodas has been linked to 25,000 deaths in the United States in 2010, and 180,000 worldwide, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The study, presented Tuesday at an American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans, point to a need for policies that curb people's sugary drink intake.

"Our findings should push policy makers world-wide to make effective policies to reduce consumption of sugary beverages, such as taxation, mass-media campaigns, and reducing availability of these drinks," said study researcher Gitanjali M. Singh, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass.

The sugary drinks raised deaths worldwide from diabetes by 133,000, from cardiovascular disease by 44,000 and from cancer by 6,000, the study noted.

Of the 15 most populated countries, Mexico had the highest rate of death linked to the beverages at 318 yearly deaths per million adults, and Japan had the lowest at 10 yearly deaths per million adults.

"Sugary drinks are high in calories and sugar and low in nutrients, so drinking these beverages does not make you feel full and you continue to eat as normal," Singh said. "These extra calories contribute to weight gain, which in turn contributes to cardiovascular disease and diabetes."

The American Beverage Association, which represents the companies like; Coca-Cola Co. the world's biggest maker of carbonated beverages, PepsiCo Inc. and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc., criticized the study.

"This abstract, which is not peer-reviewed nor published in a way where its methodology can be fully evaluated, is more about sensationalism than science," the group said today in a written statement. "The researchers make a huge leap when they take beverage intake calculations from around the globe and allege that those beverages are the cause of deaths which the authors themselves acknowledge are due to chronic disease."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently sought to ban the sale of any sugary drinks in containers that were larger than 16 ounces. However, a state judge turned down the ban on March 11.

The study by Dr Gitanjali Singh (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA) and colleagues was reported at EPI|NPAM 2013, the Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions.

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