HealthDay News — Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda, sports drinks and fruit drinks, are associated with an estimated 180,000 deaths worldwide each year, study findings presented at the American Heart Associations 2013 Scientific Sessions suggest.

Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages may cause as many as 133,000 diabetes deaths, 44,000 cardiovascular disease deaths and 6,000 cancer deaths each year, according to Gitanjali M. Singh, PhD, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues.

They analyzed data from the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study, calculating sugar-sweetened beverage intake around the world by age and sex, by the effects of consumption on obesity and diabetes, and by it’s impact on obesity and diabetes-related deaths.

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Among the nine world regions anlayzed, Latin America and the Caribbean had the most diabetes deaths associated with sugar sweetened beverage consumption, at 38,000. 

East and Central Eurasia had the most cardiovascular deaths associated with consumption — accounting for 11,000 deaths. 

Among the 15 most populous countries, Mexico, a country with the highest per capita intake of sugar sweetened beverages had the highest mortality associated with consumption at an estimated 318 deaths per million adults.

In contrast, Japan, with the lowest per-capita consumption of sugary beverage, had the lowest attributable mortality at approximately 10 deaths per million adults.

“Because we were focused on deaths due to chronic diseases, our study focused on adults,” Singh said. “Future research should assess the amount of sugary beverage consumption in children across the world and how this affects their current and future health.”

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


  1. Singh GM et al. Abstract #MP22. Presented at: American Heart Association’s Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions. March 19-22, 2013; New Orleans.