If sugary beverages are part of your everyday thirst-quenchers, or if you are ever tempted to pop open some sugary beverage to satisfy your need for liquid, think twice and reach for a glass of water instead. Sugary drinks pose major damage to your health, weight and, according to research by prestigious health organizations, are even linked to death.
Research presented at an American Heart Association meeting linked consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide — 180,000 deaths per year.
Fruit-flavored drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, soda, sweetened iced teas, etc. are consumed in huge quantities in the modern world. The average American consumes 22.2 teaspoons of added sugar daily, equating to 355 calories. Teens consume even more — 34.3 teaspoons or 549 calories/day, and half of the added sugars in the typical American diet come from sweetened drinks, mostly soda.1-2 Sugary drinks have very low satiety value, and extremely low to zero micronutrient content. The link between these beverages and weight gain is well-documented.3 In addition, these liquid calories carry more danger than excess calories alone; sugary drinks are powerfully disease-promoting. They provide their huge calorie load with no fiber, and no chewing required so their sugar hits the bloodstream almost instantly. The surge of glucose in the blood (and fructose in the liver) sets off complex pathways in the body that, over time, contribute to insulin resistance, increased visceral fat mass, elevated cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure, and cancer cell survival and proliferation.4-8
Consumption of added sugars or sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancers.2,9-15There are also strong links between hyperinsulinemia (excess insulin in the blood, a consequence of excess blood glucose) and certain cancers.7,16-19
Researchers gathered data from the World Health Organization on sugary drink consumption, obesity and chronic disease in 114 countries.Recognizing that sugary drinks promote obesity, and obesity is a risk factor for chronic diseases, they investigated the association between sweetened beverage consumption and obesity in the different countries. They then analyzed deaths from obesity-related chronic disease.
They concluded the following estimates of the number of deaths per year that may be attributed to sugar sweetened beverages:20
Wow! One-hundred and eighty thousand deaths each year could possibly be prevented by simply drinking water instead of soda?
These estimates don’t even take into account the added sugars in breakfast cereals, baked goods, candy and ice cream that are so prevalent in the American diet not to mention the oils, fried foods, white flour, white rice, and animal products.
Imagine the number of deaths that could be prevented, the health care costs that could be saved, and the excellent health our nation could enjoy by just cutting out sugary drinks, and following a health-promoting Nutritarian lifestyle. Preventable diseases are our major killers. Fortunately, we have the power to protect ourselves with superior nutrition.
The addictive properties of excessively sweet foods may make this choice difficult for some people, but hopefully research, as shown in this article, will reach those who are sick and overweight on the American diet, and help instill the motivation they need to abstain from disease-causing sugary drinks.