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Sugary Drinks Tied to Cardiovascular Disease Mortality

WEDNESDAY, March 20, 2019 -- Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is associated with increased mortality, mainly cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, according to a study published online March 18 in Circulation.

Vasanti S. Malik, Sc.D., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues examined the correlations of SSB and artificially sweetened beverage (ASB) consumption with the risk for total and cause-specific mortality among 37,716 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and 80,647 women from the Nurses' Health Study who were free from chronic diseases at baseline.

During 3,415,564 person-years of follow-up, the researchers documented 36,436 deaths (7,896 cardiovascular disease deaths and 12,380 cancer deaths). Consumption of SSBs was correlated with an increased risk for total mortality after adjustment for major diet and lifestyle factors. This correlation was seen for CVD mortality (hazard ratio comparing extreme categories, 1.31) and cancer mortality (1.16). In the highest intake category only (at least two per day), ASBs were correlated with total and CVD mortality, with pooled hazard ratios of 1.04 and 1.13, respectively. The correlation for ASB with mortality was seen in the Nurses' Health Study but not the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. ASBs were not associated with cancer mortality.

"Our results support recommendations and policies to limit intake of SSBs and to consume ASBs in moderation to improve overall health and longevity," the authors write.

Two authors provide expert support for the Center for Science in the Public Interest in litigation related to SSBs and have served as consultants for the city of San Francisco for a case related to health warnings on soda.

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Posted: March 2019

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