-Dr.Dianne McCallister, Chief Medical Officer at Centura's Porter Adventist Hospital
Before you pick up your energy drink or your soda, you may want to listen to the news from a new study from the Harvard School of Public health. Researchers linked 180,000 deaths around the world to the consumption of sugary beverages .
The drinks do not directly cause death. It is the amount of sugar - and calories in the drink that lead to obesity -which we know has an impact on the incidence of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Using statistics about these health conditions, the researchers linked intake of large amounts of sugary drinks to increased death rates - but it is an association - not a direct cause of death.
The researchers used data from a global study called Global Burden of Disease from the World Health Organization done in 2010.
This study examines the various habits of people across the world, and the death rates in these populations.
The United States is third in the ranking for deaths from sugary drinks - and those with low or median incomes had the largest sugar drink consumption within our population. Mexico ranked highest in sugary beverage intake, which women in China ranked lowest.
There are studies from the Centers for Disease Control that link increased sugar drink intake increases to the increase in obesity in our country. Other studies on heart disease show a link between more sugary drinks and more heart disease.
A can of sugar soda contains about 55 grams of sugar - which is equivalent to about 1/4 cup.
A large soft drink from a convenience store - contains about 128 grams of sugar - which is a 1/2 cup.
Most of us would not eat this much sugar on anything - and yet we're drinking it without thinking about the calories.
Another way to look at this - if you add one regular soda each day to your diet without changing anything else, you can expect a weight gain of around 15 pounds per year!
There are 387 calories in a half a cup of sugar - this is about 1/4-1/5 of the recommended calories for an entire day.
While diet drinks are better from a calorie standpoint, there are some studies that indicate people who eat sugar substitutes in their food consume more calories than people who eat real sugar - so moderation is the key even with diet drinks.
The bottom line is that we should make sugary drinks - energy drinks, sodas, fruit punch and even some flavored coffees the exception not the rule.
Water is a great way to keep hydrated and has no calories - so start substituting water for sodas throughout the day - and limit sugary drinks to less than once a day - it's an easy and healthy way to live better.
Dr. McCallister is on 7NEWS at 11 a.m. every Wednesday. If you have a topic or question you would like her to discuss, email email@example.com
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