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Harvard researchers say sugary beverages are tied to more than 180,000 obesity-related deaths a year worldwide – roughly a percent of all obesity-related deaths.
The research team looked at 114 national dietary surveys, which cover about two-thirds of the world’s population. After taking into consideration factors like being a couch potato, smoking, changes in physical activity levels, and what people eat and drink, they were able to narrow down what percent of deaths from diabetes, heart disease and cancer were connected with drinking sugary beverages.
The result? More people died from those things in parts of the world where they drink lots of sugar. Surprise. Mexico, where they drink an average of 24 ounces of sugary-sweet drinks per day, had the highest death rate.
The American Beverage Association was quick to point out this research has not yet been peer-reviewed or published – it was presented at an American Heart Association conference last week. But the AHA’s nutrition committee chair Rachel Johnson, who had nothing to do with the study, says we do know sugary drinks trick our minds into thinking we’re not as full, which may support the link to obesity deaths. (And may be why we get free dine-in refills on soda?)