In case you’ve forgotten, sugar kills—and sugary drinks are its most lethal form.
Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity. And surprise, surprise—science has yet to uncover a single benefit of drinking them.
The risks, however, just keep rolling in…
Lethal across all categories
Using data from two famous cohorts—the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professional’s Follow-Up Study (HPFS)—researchers recently linked sugary drink intake with a higher risk of both heart disease and death by any cause.
As you might have guessed, the link between sugary drinks and mortality was mostly by way of cardiovascular events. But the link between sugar-sweetened beverages and cancer death was still significant—among women, at least.
And it’s no wonder. Breast cancer in particular has strong links to excess body fat. And the strongest association between sugary drinks and cancer death was—you guessed it—by way of breast cancer.
Subjects who drank the most sugar-sweetened drinks were younger, more sedentary, more likely to smoke, and less likely to take vitamins. They were also more likely to consume more calories, more junk food, fewer veggies, and to have a lower diet quality and higher glycemic load overall.
But ultimately, the associations between sugar-sweetened beverages and mortality were significant across all categories: age, body mass index (BMI), activity levels, general diet quality, and the type of sugary drink consumed.
Of course, the effect was dose-dependent. So the more you drink, the higher your risk.
“Diet” drinks are deadly, too
Before anybody breathes a sigh of relief because they only drink diet soda, allow me to break more bad news: The associations between artificially-sweetened beverage consumption, heart disease, and all-cause mortality were also significant in this study—albeit only among women, once again.
But when researchers separated out women who drank four or more artificially-sweetened beverages a week—which, let’s be honest, really isn’t much—the association with mortality was even stronger.
Conclusions just don’t get any clearer here, folks. Sugary beverages (like soda) are bad for you. Diet soda is bad for you. It’s all junk, and you have nothing to gain from drinking any of it.
In fact, sugar is an anti-nutrient that leaches B vitamins from your body. Which means you do have a whole lot to lose. Including your life—and that’s no exaggeration. It’s a cold, hard fact.
So here’s a proposition: How about we stop wasting money on proving things we already know about soda. And start spending it on ways to get people to stop drinking it—by hamstringing manufacturers or (and I have said this many times) by taxing it to death.
I don’t claim to have all the answers. But whatever we do or don’t do, this is one problem that desperately needs a permanent solution. Until we find one, I’ll leave you with the same lifesaving advice I always do: Please… just drink water instead.
P.S. To learn more about the detrimental effects sugar has on your body, take a look at the September 2018 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The dangerous way sugar rewires your brain”). Subscribers have access to this and all of my past content. So if you haven’t already, click here to sign up today!
Lichtenstein, AH. “Last Nail in the Coffin for Sugar-Sweetened Beverages.” Circulation. 2019 Apr 30;139(18):2126-2128.