A group of researchers have discovered an increased risk of premature death in women who regularly drink sugar-sweet beverages, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of Circulation by the American Heart Association.
"Our results provide further support to limit the consumption of sugary drinks and replace them with other beverages, preferably water, to improve overall health and longevity," said author Vasanti Malik of Harvard University.
The researchers analyzed data from more than 80,500 women and about 37,700 men who answered their lifestyle and health status questionnaires every 24 months for nearly 35 years.
After adjusting several factors, the researchers discovered that the more sugary sodas a person consumes, the more their risk of premature death from any cause is increasing.
According to their research, one to four times drinking one to four soft drinks means a 1% increase in the risk of premature death; from two to six a week 6% more; from one to two a day, 14%; and two or more a day 21%.
They also found that the increased risk of premature death in the consumption of sugary drinks was more pronounced among women than among men.
"There was a particularly strong correlation between the consumption of sugary drinks and an increased risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease," the researchers warned.
Compared to people who drink these drinks rarely, those who drank two or more a day had a 31% higher risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease.
These results are "consistent" according to the authors with the known side effects of high sugar consumption in metabolic risk agents and evidence that consumption of these beverages increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, a risk factor of premature death.
The team led by Malik found that these results support policies to limit the marketing of sugary beverages to children and adolescents and to carry more taxes on these soft drinks.