Monday, March 17, 2014

Why Less Sugary Drinks Should Be Consumed?

There are plenty of evidence showing sugar-sweetened beverages are loaded with calories that carry little nutritional value. These beverages are considered as a public health hazard as they are linked to obesity. A large number of deaths are actually caused by obesity-related diseases including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and Type-2 diabetes.

A paper presented at EPI/NPAM by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston linked sugar-sweetened beverage consumption to 180,000 deaths a year worldwide, including 25,000 deaths a year in the United States, mainly due to Type-2 diabetes. EPI/NPAM, stands for Epidemiology & Prevention and Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism, was a conference hosted by American Heart Association (AHA) and held between March 19 and 22, 2013 in New Orleans.

Information from 114 countries was included in the new study that looked at dietary surveys to assess sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, and the number of deaths from certain diseases. Information from earlier studies was also used to estimate the effect of sugary drink consumption on weight gain, and the effect of weight gain on the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

As indicated by their analysis, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was linked to 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 44,000 deaths from cardiovascular diseases and 6,000 deaths from cancer.

In 2010, Latin America/Caribbean had the most diabetes deaths at 38,000, and East/Central Eurasia had the most cardiovascular deaths at 11,000. Among the 15 most populated countries, Mexico had the highest rate of death linked to the beverages at 318 yearly deaths per million adults, and Japan had the lowest at 10 yearly deaths per million adults.

It is hoped that the new findings could push policy makers worldwide to implement effective policies like taxation and mass media campaigns to lower consumption of sugary beverages.

Nevertheless, other health professionals in the fields cautioned the study found only association and did not prove that sugar-sweetened beverage consumption actually caused those deaths.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are often just part of a bad diet that contribute to bad health. That is why people should still focus on overall diet. If people could improve the quality of diets by cutting down the sugar intake, salt intake and everything else, they should have better health. Reducing sugar-sweetened beverages but eating more of other junk foods could actually worsen the health.

The AHA recommends adults consume no more than 450 calories per week from sugar-sweetened beverages, based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

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