Mar 19, 2013 6:25 PM by NBC News
New research has linked sugar-sweetened beverages with hundreds of thousands of deaths.
The study from from the Harvard School of Public Health links over-consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks with 180,000 deaths worldwide each year.
"There is pretty strong evidence that consumption of excessive calories, particularly from sugar-sweetened beverages, does correlate obesity and therefore insulin resistance, which is the path of physiology of diabetes," explains Dr. Sahil Parikh of UH Case Medical Center.
Obesity and diabetes are risk factors for heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death.
The Harvard researchers calculated the consumption of sugary drinks worldwide and compared that with death rate data to get their results.
"We have to take pause and understand that this is a suggested correlation. It does not imply that these drinks do cause directly morbidity and mortality," Dr. Parikh notes.
The American Beverage Association responded to the study in a statement, calling it "more about sensationalism than science."
The sticking point in this research is the added sugar in drinks and does not include low-cal and no-cal beverages sweetened in other ways.
Studies have shown nearly half of all Americans gulp down sugar-sweetened drinks every day.
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