March 6/The Express -- People who have sugary drinks every day face a greater risk of diabetes and heart disease, a study has found.
Scientists estimate that the consumption of such drinks -- which contain up to 200 calories each -- contributed to 130,000 cases of diabetes and 14,000 cases of heart disease in the years between 1990 and 2000. Over the past decade, 6,000 deaths in America could be blamed on the consumption of sweet drinks, experts said.
The high-calorie count of the drinks could also be fuelling the obesity epidemic.
The findings were presented to an American Heart Association conference by researchers who called for a tax on soft drinks to pay for health bills.
Dr Litsa Lambrakos, of the University of California at San Francisco, said, "We can demonstrate an association between daily consumption of sugared beverages and diabetes risk. We can then translate this information into estimates of the current diabetes and cardiovascular disease that can be attributed to the rise in consumption of these drinks."
Florence Brown, of Diabetes UK, said, "This study adds to the wealth of research around the health risks associated with long-term consumption of highcalorie, high-sugar drinks.
"These drinks can lead to easy weight gain which can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a serious lifelong condition." June Davison, of the British Heart Foundation, said, "Sugary drinks tend to be high in calories, so if you drink a lot it can increase the risk of obesity -- a major risk factor for heart disease."
A spokesman for the British Soft Drinks Association commented, "Heart disease and diabetes are complex problems with no single cause and no simple solutions. All aspects of diet and lifestyle need to be taken into account when looking at how to promote health."
From the March 15, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition