Sugary soft drinks (sodas) are associated with an increase in mortality according to a new study. Doctors must absolutely look for this consumption and do everything to reduce it… with the help of public authorities, the researchers recommend.
It has long been known that the consumption of high sugar beverages, mainly sodas, is associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But this is the first time that consumption of sugar-rich sodas has been shown to increase the risk of all-cause mortality and coronary heart disease mortality.
This is shown in a study of 30,183 adults over the age of 45 in the US cohort REGARDS (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke). The results were presented by Lindsay Collin at the American Heart Association’s Conference on Epidemiology and Prevention
The study excluded all individuals with a history of stroke, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes leaving a population of 17,930. Their intake of added sugar, in grams, was calculated from beverages and foods separately using self-administered questionnaires from the food frequency questionnaires.
By dividing participants into 4 groups (“quartiles”), from the lowest consumers of sugary drinks to the strongest consumers, including soft drinks, fruit and fruit drinks, the authors found that the risk of coronary heart disease is significantly higher in the quartile where soda consumption is highest. The risk of all-cause death is also higher in the upper quartile.
The risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality remains highest even taking into account disruptive factors such as age, body mass index, sex, income, region, smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity. No significant difference was observed in terms of sex or race. But, the increase in mortality is significantly higher for low-income people than for high-income people for all-cause mortality.
People who were overweight (body mass index of 25.0 – 29.9) also had all-cause mortality associated with higher consumption of sugary drinks.
Various hypotheses can explain the increase in mortality rates with the consumption of sugary drinks compared to sugary foods. Taking sugar with a drink makes it pass quickly into the bloodstream, which is why the body reacts by over-storing. The digestion of sugary foods occurs more slowly than that of sugary drinks because of the presence of other components such as fiber, fat and protein.
Physicians must therefore look for soda consumption in the same way as other cardiovascular risk factors such as cholesterol, smoking and high blood pressure.