Consuming two or more sugary drinks a day increases the chances of dying from heart disease, bowel disease and strokes.
That’s according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that looked at 450,000 people across Europe.
An increased risk of death is also associated with artificially sweetened drinks.
‘Our results for sugar-sweetened soft drinks provide further support to limit consumption,’ Dr Neil Murphy, a co-author of the research, said.
‘And to replace them with other healthier beverages, preferably water.’
Results show 9.3% of those who drank less than a glass of soft drink a month died during the study.
This compares with 11.5% who drank two or more 250ml glasses a day.
When BMI, diet, smoking and other factors are taken into account, this translates to a 17% increase in the risk of death amongst those consuming two or more glasses a day.
‘We have one of the highest rates of sugar consumption worldwide,’ Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said.
‘This study is a frightening eye-opener and reminds us excessive amounts of sugar can be harmful to our health.
‘Added sugar is the main culprit when it comes to several major diseases including tooth decay, diabetes and heart disease.
‘The toll it takes simply cannot be ignored.
‘More must be done to drive down sugar consumption and incentivise healthier alternatives.’
Reducing sugar intake
Figures show children are exceeding the recommended sugar intake of an 18-year-old by the time they reach 10.
Public Health England statistics show children consume around eight more sugar cubes every day than is recommended.
This is despite children’s sugar intake levels declining slightly in recent years.
‘Children are consuming too much sugar,’ Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said.
‘But parents can take action now to prevent this building up over the years.
‘To make this easier for busy families, Change4life is offering a straightforward solution.
‘By making simple swaps each day, children can have healthier versions of everyday foods and drinks, while significantly reducing their sugar intake.’