A new study has found that people who consume sugary drinks every day face a greater risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Scientists have found that more Americans now drink sugar-sweetened sodas, sport drinks and fruit drinks daily, and this increase in consumption has led to more diabetes and heart disease over the past decade.
Using the Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) Policy Model, a well-established computer simulation model of the national population age 35 and older, researchers estimate that the increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages between 1990 and 2000 contributed to 130,000 new cases of diabetes, 14,000 new cases of coronary heart disease (CHD), and 50,000 additional life-years burdened by coronary heart disease over the past decade.
Researchers said that sugar-sweetened soda, sport and fruit drinks (not 100 percent fruit juice) contain equivalent calories, ranging from 120 to 200 per drink, and thus play a role in the nation's rising tide of obesity.
Previous research has linked daily consumption of these sugary beverages to an increased risk of diabetes, even apart from excessive weight gain.
"The CHD model allows us to incorporate data from other studies that demonstrate an association between daily consumption of sugared beverages and diabetes risk; we can then translate this information into estimates of the current diabetes and cardiovascular disease that can be attributed to the rise in consumption of these drinks," said Litsa Lambrakos, study lead author and internal medicine resident at the University of California-San Francisco.
Health policy experts suggest curbing the consumption of sugared drinks through an excise tax of 1 cent per ounce of beverage, which would be expected to decrease consumption by 10 percent.
"If such a tax could curb the consumption of these drinks, the health benefits could be dramatic," said Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, senior author of the study and associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
The findings have been reported at the American Heart Association's 50th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.