Women who drink fewer sugary drinks at lower risk of early death

Benedict Jephcote
Tue, 19 Mar 2019
Women who drink fewer sugary drinks at lower risk of early death
Consuming fewer sugary drinks has been linked to a decreased risk of death in women, researchers have said.

The study suggests that having two beverages a day, which includes sugary soda, sports drinks and fruit juice, could have significant impacts on health and longevity.

The US trial involved more than 80,000 women and 37,000 men, who were followed for nearly three decades. They were asked to complete surveys about their diet and lifestyle every four years.

The findings showed women who drank between two to six sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) per week were six per cent more likely to die during the study period, when compared to those who consumed fewer drinks.

Study lead author Vasanti Malik, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition, said: "Our results provide further support to limit intake of SSBs and to replace them with other beverages, preferably water, to improve overall health and longevity."

The research team also found evidence to suggest that frequent sugary drink consumption was also linked with increased risks of stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Lead study author Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, an associate professor of clinical epidemiology and population health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said: "Women who, at the onset of our study, didn't have any heart disease or diabetes and were obese, were twice as likely to have a clot-based or ischemic stroke."

Previous studies have linked sugary drink consumption to weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. However, few studies to date had examined the association between sugary beverages and early death.

Study co-author Dr Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the same institution, added: "These findings are consistent with the known adverse effects of high sugar intake on metabolic risk factors; and the strong evidence that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, itself a major risk factor for premature death."

The findings have been published in the journal Circulation.
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