Researchers at Harvard have released a study that makes the claim that the United States ranks third among 187 countries in deaths caused by sugary drinks. Julian Omidi examines the results of this study and its potential implications.
By utilizing data compiled through the World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease Study, researchers at Harvard have estimated that about 184,000 deaths were related to the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in 2010. They approximated that the majority of these deaths were linked to diabetes (roughly 133,000), with cardiovascular disease, and cancer accounting for the rest of the total number.
Of the 187 countries that were accounted for, the United States ranked third with 25,000 deaths believed to be associated with sugary drinks.
The paper in which these findings are to be published has yet to be peer-reviewed and published, a fact that is leading the American Beverage Association to refute these claims. In a statement from the ABA, arguments against the study included that the study is epidemiological in nature and that it does now show correlations nor can it prove causation. In order to determine the role that these particular beverages may have had, the Harvard researchers examined the amount of sugary beverages consumed on average by the population of these nations and the disease that are commonly associated with sugared beverages.
The paper is leading to a larger discussion about what can be done from a governmental standpoint to limit the consumption of these beverages. Some people are promoting increased taxation in hopes of altering the rate of consumption, while others believe that eliminating the ability of those on government food programs to purchase sugary beverages with food stamps is the solution. Whether any of these efforts could be beneficial or infringe on anyone’s liberties is open to debate, but if this study proves to be reliable, something must be done in order to curb the health issues associated with sugary beverages.
By Julian Omidi