It should not surprise you to hear that a diet consisting of lots of sugary beverages is not a healthy one. A new study, published this week in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, however, asserts that not only are these beverages bad for you, but they certainly increase your risk for death.
Now, this was an observational study, but it did find that adults who consume at least two sweetened drinks a had could be at a 21 percent higher risk of death than those who drank fewer than one sweetened drink per month. The risk is actually twice that for women than for men: at 25 percent to 12 percent, respectively.
In addition, the study also found that sugary drinks have also been associated with a more than 30 percent higher risk for death from cardiovascular disease, regardless of gender.
While the results of the study certainly seem to indicate a definitive warning, lead study author Vasanti Malik advises that it is still not yet clear what the differences are that drive the overall risk of death.
The Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health Department of Nutrition research scientist notes, “It could simply be the physiological or metabolic differences between men and women. It could also be something methodological, where women tend to underreport energy intake a little bit more than men.”
Regardless of some mystery, it is certain that reducing your consumption of sugary drinks is better for you. And, of course, the best way to do that is to drink water instead of your previous beverage of choice.
Malik goes on to say, “Drinking water in place of sugary drinks is a healthy choice that could contribute to longevity. Diet soda may be used to help frequent consumers of sugar drinks cut back their consumption, but water is the best and healthiest choice.”
That said, the American Beverage Association defends that soft drinks that soft drinks and other beverages that contain sugar can be safe to consume if they are part of a balanced diet. Indeed, the ABA argues, “The sugar used in our beverages is the same as sugar used in other food products. We don’t think anyone should overconsuming sugar, that’s why we’re working to reduce the sugar people consume from beverages across the country.”
The ABA also advises that the industry has been working—somewhat feverishly, even—to introduce smaller portion sizes as well as new brands that feature low-or-no sugar options.