The study found that the more beverages packed with sugar that folks were consuming, drinks like soda, energy drinks and sports drinks, the higher their risk for death was during the study, LiveScience reports.
After also investigating a possible link between drinking artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) and risk of early death, the researchers found that replacing one SSB per day with one ASB was linked with a moderately lower risk of early death.
For women, the risk of death jumped by 25 percent, while men had a 12 percent increase in risk. Although SSB consumption in the US has dropped over the past decade, there's been a recent uptick among adults, with intake levels from SSBs alone almost exceeding the dietary recommendation for consuming no more than 10 percent of daily calories from added sugars.
Drinking two sugary drinks a day increased your risk of early death by 14 per cent, while those who drink more than two a day had a 21 per cent increased risk of early death.
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Many studies have already connected the consumption of sugary drinks to a range of health conditions, including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Approximately 37,000 men and 80,000 women from the health profession were followed by Harvard researchers for close to three decades to complete the study.
Because this study was observational, and scientists didn't require people to sit around in a lab for decades while they collected data, we can not be sure that there's a causal link between early death and sugary drinks.
Sugar-sweetened beverages intake is also on the rise in developing countries, spurred by urbanisation and beverage marketing, said the team.
Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are linked to risks of premature death, particularly death from cardiovascular diseases.
Although the drinks were linked to increased risk of death from colon and breast cancer, the associated risk was significantly higher for dying prematurely from heart disease. Only a few connected SSB intake with 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 concluded".