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Sugar in drinks kills 184,000 a year

10th October 2015

Scientists are advising people across the globe to reduce their intake of sugar in drinks. A study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation suggests that up to one in 100 deaths from obesity-related diseases can be directly attributed to consumption of sugar in drinks.

The researchers concluded that 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 from cardiovascular disease and 6,450 deaths from cancer could be caused by consumption of sugar in drinks.

This includes sugar in fizzy drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened iced teas, sports/energy drinks, or homemade sugary drinks. Pure fruit juice was excluded from the study.

Many of the deaths identified by the study are in low to middle income countries with Mexico at the bottom of the table – 404.5 million deaths per million adults. In comparison Britain has a mortality rate of 30.5 per million adults.

But that still gives a total of 1,316 adults per year in Britain dying unnecessarily as a result of sugar in drinks consumption.

Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University in Boston and senior author of the study, says:

“Some population dietary changes, such as increasing fruits and vegetables, can be challenging due to agriculture, costs, storage, and other complexities. This is not complicated. There are no health benefits from sugar in drinks, and the potential impact of reducing consumption is saving tens of thousands of deaths each year.”

Jamie Oliver highlighted this problem in his recent documentary Sugar Rush. He visited Mexico and also took a look at hospitals in the UK where surgical interventions for the complications of diabetes are increasing at an alarming rate.

He is calling for a sugar tax across the UK, and has already imposed a tax on sugar sweetened drinks in his restaurants, with the proceeds going to fund educational projects in schools.

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Tesco has taken a different approach. Speaking in the Independent a spokesperson said that the supermarket aims to cut the sugar in drinks by five per cent per year.

Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of Action on Sugar, welcomed this decision, saying:

“Incremental, unobtrusive reformulation is the key way of reducing calories across all sweetened drinks – merely having the option of ‘diet’ or ‘no sugar’ products does not work, particularly for the most socially deprived.”

Whatever the governments decide, taxation or reformulation, it seems clear that the war against sugar in drinks has begun.

Sugar sweetened drinks have almost no nutritional value and the sugar in drinks can play havoc with your metabolism, as I have explained elsewhere in the blog.

At Thinking Slimmer we firmly advise our customers to look carefully at the amount of sugar in drinks they consume. The benefits of cutting down can be amazing – take a look at our star Slimpodder Jo Hallam, who has lost weight and maintained the loss for five years.

As she says:

  “I used to be the Queen of Fizzy Drinks but now all I want is water. I’m feeling great – and I’m cheap to take out now! The more weight I lost, the more confidence I gained. For the first time in years I started to feel happy about the way I looked. Now I put on a new dress for a night out and when I look at myself in the bedroom mirror I can hardly believe that the slim, sexy person I can see is really me.”

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