September 01, 2019

Sweetened drinks and shorter life

Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to weight gain and a host of related health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. New research adds more evidence pointing to the seriousness of these risks. A large-scale study in the journal Circulation found that people who drink more sugar-sweetened beverages have a greater risk of premature death — particularly from heart disease — than do those who drink fewer. The study also noted a modest association between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and death from cancer, most notably breast cancer among women.

The research doesn't definitively prove these links because it's possible other factors are at play. However, it's a good reminder of the impact diet may have on your overall health. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the single largest source of added sugar in the typical U.S. diet. They include carbonated and noncarbonated sodas, fruit drinks, and sport drinks that are sweetened with ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, sucrose and fruit juice concentrates. The past decade saw a drop in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, but recent research has noted an uptick.

Given the potential health risks, Mayo Clinic experts advise skipping the sugary beverages and drinking plain or unsweetened flavored water, or unsweetened coffee, tea or iced tea instead. While many people turn to artificially sweetened drinks as a substitute, research on their health impact is still unclear. Whether it's sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened drinks, the advice remains the same — if you do drink them, moderation is...