Sugary drinks linked to a higher risk of early death in certain people, reveals study

Sugary drinks linked to premature death in people with type 2 diabetes. (Photo via Pexels/Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto)
Sugary drinks linked to premature death in people with type 2 diabetes. (Photo via Pexels/Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto)

According to a new study, high consumption of sugary drinks, such as lemonade and soda, can increase the risk of early death in people with type 2 diabetes. It can increase the risk of heart disease, too.

In a study published in the journal The BMJ, researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that people with type 2 diabetes who consumed sugar-sweetened drinks regularly had a much higher risk of developing heart illness and early deaths compared to those who drank other drinks like tea, low-fat milk, and more.


Sugary drinks and early deaths: What’s the study all about?

Previously, there have been studies on beverage consumption and its effects on health, but those studies were mostly done among the general population. In this new study, however, researchers specifically examined beverage consumption among people with type 2 diabetes.

They analyzed 18.5 years of data from more than 12,000 participants, all diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The participants reported how often they consumed sugary drinks and other artificial sweetener-based beverages.

The new study on sugary drinks were done on people with type 2 diabetes. (Photo via Pexels/Lisa Fotios)
The new study on sugary drinks were done on people with type 2 diabetes. (Photo via Pexels/Lisa Fotios)

The results showed that people who drank sugar-sweetened beverages regularly had a higher risk of mortality as well as a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and related deaths.

On the other hand, people who did not consume those drinks regularly had a lesser risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death.


Caffeinated, non-caffeinated, and non-carbonated drinks, are all harmful and unhealthy – according to the study

According to the study, sugary drinks that were reported to be harmful to people with type 2 diabetes, included caffeine-free and caffeinated drinks as well as non-carbonated drinks such as lemonade, fruit punches, and fruit drinks like apples, grapefruit, and so on.

The researchers claimed that each serving of any one of these drinks was linked to an 8% higher risk of all-cause mortality among type 2 diabetes patients.


“Type 2 diabetes patients should be picky” – according to the lead author of the study

Qi Sun, the lead author of the study and associate professor in the Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology said:

People living with diabetes should be picky about how they keep themselves hydrated.

He continued:

Switching from sugar-sweetened beverages to healthier beverages will bring health benefits.

According to researchers, replacing one serving of sugary drinks with plain water, tea, coffee, milk or any other healthier substitute can potentially lead to better health benefits.

The study claimed that switching out sugar-based beverages with one that’s artificially sweetened can lower the risk of all-cause death by 8 percent and lower the risk of premature death related to cardiovascular disease by 15 percent.

Switching to artificially sweetened drinks can lower the risk of all-cause death by 8%. (Photo via Pexels/Kindel Media)
Switching to artificially sweetened drinks can lower the risk of all-cause death by 8%. (Photo via Pexels/Kindel Media)

Are sugar substitutes healthy?

When it comes to sugar substitutes, researchers believe that more studies are needed for both natural and artificial sugar substitutes. Although these substitutes have become quite popular among people and are also considered safe, they are not necessarily healthy. And most importantly, the long-term physical effects of sugar substitutes on health are still unknown.

So, it is best to avoid all kinds of sugary drinks, especially if you have type 2 diabetes and consume artificial or natural sweetener-based drinks in moderation to keep your overall health in check.

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Edited by Ankush Das