Sugar drinks are tasty but they may be 'killing you slowly'

Study reveales drinks with sugar are associated with increased risk of heart disease and can cause death in some cases

By
Web Desk
A representational image of a lemonade. — Unsplash/File
A representational image of a lemonade. — Unsplash/File

People will now think carefully before they opt for any cool and sweet drink in the hot weather after a study revealed that drinks with sugar are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and can cause death in some cases, USA Today reported.

After studying more than 12,000 participants with Type 2 diabetes, researchers from Harvard TH Chan School of Public analysed their sugar consumption.

In their research published in the peer-reviewed journal The BMJ, the investigators found out that Type 2 diabetic patients who drank sweet drinks on regular basis had a high risk of heart disease. 

They also revealed that they may also be dead before their maturity compared to those who used other beverages.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37 million Americans have diabetes and it's estimated that up to 95% of them have Type 2 diabetes.

Marion Nestle, an emeritus professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University, noted: "This adds to a growing body of research. Although it’s a message to people with diabetes to try to switch to drinks that don't have any calories or sugars in them. It’s good advice for everybody."

Controlled sugar intake

The authors of the research said that the report included data from 1980 to 2018 and is among the first large-scale studies to examine links between death or disease and beverages among people with Type 2 diabetes.

The discussed beverages in the reports are caffeinated and caffeine-free colas and drinks like fruit punches, lemonade, and fruit drinks like orange, apple, and grapefruit.

In the report, it was noted that using these beverages can increase the risk of all-cause mortality to 8% among people with Type 2 diabetes.

However, the research also recommended that the daily intake of sugar should be less than 10% of the calories consumed, which is about 50 grams a day, Nestle said.

Substitute to sugar

The study revealed that opting for artificial sweeteners can lower the risk of death to 8% and 15% cardiovascular disease-related death.

Nevertheless, other studies had expressed their concerns over sugar replacements. Federal health regulators regard them as safe, but that does not mark them as healthy goods to consume. Additionally, long-term impacts on health if the sugar substitutes are not yet properly known.

Drinks other than sugar content

Replacing one serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage with coffee, tea, low-fat cow's milk or plain water is healthy, researchers found.

The drinks which lower the risk of all-cause mortality are:

• 18% for coffee

• 16% for tea

• 12% for low-fat cow's milk

• 16% for plain water

The following drinks are recommended by researchers to lower the risk of death by heart disease:

• 20% with coffee

• 24% with tea

• 19% with low-fat cow's milk

• 20% with plain water

Lead author of the study and associated professor in the Department of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health Qi Sun said: "People living with diabetes should be picky about how they keep themselves hydrated. Switching from sugar-sweetened beverages to healthier beverages will bring health benefits."