Coca-Cola and Pepsi contribute to nearly 200,000 deaths every year
Sunday, October 18, 2015 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Sugary drinks such as Coke and Pepsi kill nearly 200,000 people per year worldwide, according to a study conducted by researchers from Tufts University and published in the journal Circulation.
The numbers are based on prior studies showing that sugar consumption can lead to heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
“Many countries in the world have a significant number of deaths occurring from a single dietary factor – sugar-sweetened beverages,” senior author Dariush Mozaffarian said.
“It should be a global priority to substantially reduce or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet,”
The study’s abstract was previously presented at the American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention in 2013.
U.S. has one of highest death rates
The study is the first to take a detailed look at the global health impact of consuming beverages sweetened with sugar. It focused exclusively on any sodas, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, teas or homemade drinks sweetened with some form of sugar and containing at least 50 calories per 8-ounce serving. Due to its different nutrient content, 100 percent fruit juice (not artificially sweetened) was excluded from the study.
The researchers used 62 separate dietary surveys conducted on a total of 611,971 people in 51 countries between 1980 and 2010 to estimate sugar consumption country-by-country. They combined this with data on how available sugar is in 187 different countries, in order to calculate variation in sugar consumption both between and within countries.
Drawing on prior studies delineating the health effects of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, the researchers determined the effect that the sugar consumption they had calculated would have on death rates from cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. They concluded that in 2010 alone, sugar-sweetened beverages killed 6,450 people from cancer, 45,000 from cardiovascular disease and 133,000 from diabetes, for a total of nearly 185,000 deaths.
Although 76 percent of the deaths from sugar-sweetened drinks occurred in middle- and low-income countries, the United States came in second among the 20 most populous countries in terms of per-capita deaths, at 125 per million adults. It was surpassed only by Mexico, which had 405 deaths per million adults.
“This is not complicated,” Mozaffarian said. “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.”
Sugar among top killers
The findings follow a recent scorching editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, in which scientists accused the fast food industry of using the Big Tobacco playbook to distract people from the lethality of their products. Specifically, the authors referred to a study showing that for every 150 calories from sugar present in a country’s diet, type 2 diabetes rates increase elevenfold. According to another recent study in the Lancet, poor diet causes more disease than smoking, alcohol and physical inactivity combined.
According to the Tufts study, the United States suffers 25,000 deaths per year directly attributable to sugar-sweetened beverages. This is nearly the same as the 30,000 to 40,000 people killed in automobile crashes each year (according to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 1,600 of those deaths are caused just by distracted teenage drivers).
Contrast these very real killers with the diseases portrayed as major threats in media reports. Only 20 people died from whooping cough (pertussis) in the United States in 2012, the most deadly year since 1955. There has been just a single measles death since 2003 (even prior to vaccination, measles killed only 500 a year). And while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention likes to claim that 36,000 people per year die from the flu, data from the National Vital Statistics System actually place the true number at closer to 500.