Before you take another sip out of that iced Big Gulp you should know that the deceptively sweet drink swishing around in the plastic container has a dark side.
A new Harvard study presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association in New Orleans reveals that intake of soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks are associated with more than 180,000 "preventable" deaths each year. That makes apple juice and pop way more dangerous than sharks, lions, tigers and bears combined.
Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health pulled data from a 2010 study on global disease burden for analyses and were able to asses the amount of deaths linked to sugary drink consumption. The statistics have revealed that soda is correlated to 133,000 deaths linked to diabetes, 6,000 deaths related to cancer and 44,000 deaths from heart disease.
According to study researcher Gitanjali Singh, roughly 75 percent of worldwide deaths associated with soda consumption happen in low and middle income countries — particularly Latin America and the Caribbean. In fact the country with most deaths linked to sugary drinks was Mexico with 318 deaths per one million adults. The Central American country holds one of the highest per-capita consumption of sugary drinks and is among the word's 15 most populous countries.
The country with fewest deaths? Japan, with a rate of 10 deaths per one million adults.
The United States saw 25,000 deaths related to soda intake in 2010.
Researchers say “that limiting sugary-beverage intake is an important step in reducing diabetes deaths.” So maybe New York City's Mayor Bloomberg's controversial and failed ban on super-sized sugary soft drinks may be a glimpse into the future. With more deaths correlating to unhealthy eating and drinking habits, will there be a need for more restrictive measures?