AfterNet has reported on March 20, 2013, Big Soda Knocks Harvard Report Linking ‘Sugary Drinks’ to 180,000 Deaths a Year. Harvard researchers have said that over- consumption of sodas and sugary drinks may be linked to 180,000 deaths worldwide a year, and to about 25,000 American deaths a year. The American Beverage Association (ABA) has stated, “This abstract, which is not peer-reviewed nor published in a way where its methodology can be fully evaluated, is more about sensationalism than science." However, the Harvard researchers have not retracted their report, which has been reviewed in an article by HealthDay on March 19, 2013, Sugary Drinks Tied to 25,000 U.S. Deaths a Year.
The Harvard researchers are standing firmly behind their findings that more than 180,000 deaths worldwide in 2010 were linked to a high intake of sugary drinks, including 25,000 deaths in the United States. These researchers have said most deaths occurred in middle- to low-income countries. Lead researcher Gitanjali Singh, a research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health, has said these findings are surprising because "we often think of this as a problem only in high-income countries, like the U.S." She has also said that her findings, presented Tuesday at an American Heart Association meeting, point to a need for policies that curb people's sugary drink intake.
However, these findings do not prove that sugary drinks kill people. But, they do show a correlation between high consumption and deaths from heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, has said, "This type of study cannot prove cause-and-effect. Sugary beverage consumption is often paired with other unhealthy food choices or behaviors. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, are the result of many factors, not just excess sugar intake." Nevertheless, Sandon has stressed that "everyone should be limiting added sugar -- from drinks and food. We just do not need added sugar that is empty calories."