Study: Soda really does kill

New research gives credence to NYC Mayor Bloomberg's assertion that 'people are dying every day' from sugary drinks.

By Aimee Picchi Mar 20, 2013 12:54PM

Credit: © TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Caption: A man gets a Double Gulp drink at a 7-11 on the Upper East Side of New York City March 11, 2013. While you might feel guilty sipping down the calories in a can of Coca-Cola (KO), a new study from Harvard researchers isn't going to help you justify your soda habit. 

Sugary drinks are linked to 180,000 deaths a year around the world, with 25,000 people alone dying in the U.S. from health problems related to sodas and other sweetened beverages, the researchers found. 

"We know that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to obesity, and that a large number of deaths are caused by obesity-related diseases. But until now, nobody had really put these pieces together," said Harvard School of Public Health postdoctoral research fellow and lead author Gitanjali Singh, according to ABC News

The assertion will likely be received with welcome ears by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has waged a war against large servings of soda and other sugary drinks. 

A judge struck down Bloomberg's citywide ban earlier this month, calling it "arbitrary and capricious." But Bloomberg has vowed to continue his fight, noting, "People are dying every day." That's something the study seems to support, with researchers finding that 1 out of 100 deaths of obese people can be blamed on too many sweetened beverages.

Of the deaths linked to sweetened drinks in 2010, most were from diabetes, with cardiovascular disease and cancer the No. 2 and No. 3 causes, respectively.

One woman's death was linked to her Coca-Cola habit when a New Zealand coroner last month said 31-year old Natasha Harris' sugar and caffeine intake was a "substantial factor in her demise. She drank more than 2.6 gallons of classic Coke each day, according to ABC News.

The American Beverage Association, a trade group, attacked the Harvard research, which hasn't yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal but was presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting this week. 

The study "is more about sensationalism than science," the group said in a statement. "It does not show that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages causes chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer -- the real causes of death among the studied subjects."

The statement adds that the researchers "make a huge leap" when linking sweetened beverages to the deaths.

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Mar 20, 2013 2:12PM
I still don't understand this.  They are getting worked up over over sugary drinks yet don't seem to have any problems with alcohol or cigarettes.  Just have them put a label on sugary drinks just like they do cigarettes and let the idiots that want to kill themselves with do so knowing the risks.  Anyone who smokes knows it is killing them yet they chose to do it anyway so why should sugary drinks be any different.
Mar 20, 2013 1:54PM
I cannot believe our sorry ashed government!  They allow this "study" to discourage soft drinks but allow the legal drug lords to continure puking "ask your doctor" ads that lure, addict and kill far more Americans. The only reason I can see is the government is getting a big chunk of the billions dragged in by the drug lords.  Yes, soft drinks kill a few people over a period of years.  I agree with that, but some the the drugs kill during the first month of use.  A recent news report indicated the statin drugs are big business and help few people.  Do research on the deaths caused by statin drugs!!! You might be surprised!!!  I am surprised that Congress allows it.  No, I'm really not surprised.
Sure, all of those deaths would have been avoided simply by removing sweetened drinks from the equation. Like nothing else in their lives had anything to do with regards to contributing to their conditions. Genetic predispositions, drug/alcohol/tobacco use, lack of exercise, lack of self control in moderating food consumption, environmental factors, and any number of other contributors to health issues are strictly to be ignored, right?

People need to stop allowing the sensationalism to grab their attention and shape their opinions and start thinking for themselves. When was the last time the was a "medical report" that was universally objective and agreed upon. Every day there are new "studies" being done that counter the conclusions of the ones done the previous day. And, think about who is publishing these reports and whether they have any reason to be biased (or even paid outright) to publish a specific outcome. 

Mar 20, 2013 1:15PM

Next the government will ban soft drinks and sugar.


They won't be satisfied until we're all living off water and rice cakes.

Mar 20, 2013 1:57PM

Ahh but it is one of personal not governmental choice.


Many soda also take the old rust off of an engine or metal piece-----this has been common knowledge for years------yet when our Gov't wants to ban soda yet promotes GMO foods----there is something very wrong going on here!


They approve of poisons in our food yet want to ban soda cause it can go to the Gut. They accept GMO foods which do ontribute to Childhood Obesity----yet want to ban a large soda.


Man, our Gov't can easily be described asd Fooked UP Royally!

Mar 20, 2013 1:41PM
Your going to die from something, why not enjoy your pop or soda.
Mar 20, 2013 2:23PM
Don't shut down the fountains just yet. Everything in moderation. If your parents didn't teach you, then learn it now, and everyone will be just fine.
Mar 20, 2013 2:36PM
Mar 20, 2013 2:50PM
I drink 3-7 cans of Coke almost every day. I do not smoke, and my Doctor does not want me to drink alcohol; it can screw up my medication. I also walk 2 miles or more just about every day.  If drinking soda is going to kill me, so be it. I am not poisining other peoples lungs, amd the chances of kiling someone because of a high alcohol content is ZERO!
Mar 20, 2013 2:30PM
There's 100% chance of dieing. So if a big gulp makes your day then go for it. 
Mar 20, 2013 3:01PM

Yes, the sugar in soda kills. But so does the sugar in doughnuts, cookies, candy, ice-cream, etc. Does this mean we should ban every little thing that has sugar in it just because one day, someone just might take a little too much sugar and end up with type-2 diabetes and then die? Absoultely not.


It isn't the government's responsibility to control our bad eating habits. Leave it to parents, teachers and doctors to educate us about the health risks. Meanwhile, the government can get around to dealing with real issues, like the economy and foreign relations.

Mar 20, 2013 2:29PM
B.S. No way to determine soda was the cause. Diabetes hereditary also, The girl who drank 2.6 gallons a day was not obese. Just another agenda to ban something that should be our own free choice of having or not.  
Mar 20, 2013 2:47PM


      Statin drugs   doctors push them like candy to people any one over 40 is on them   been on crestor for   5 years   starting to go down hill   cramps headaches   don't feel good   weakens in your mussels   Well gess what i stopped taking the pill feeling so much better don't have chest pain if i  try to work a little harder   just basic feeel better   so what does that tell you  will see if the good feeling keeps up ???????

Mar 20, 2013 1:55PM
Geeeez..... It seems like Coca Cola is getting a bum rap here lately. How come Pepsi Products such as Mountain Dew and others are hardly ever  mentioned. I guess those are A OK for ya. huh ??

I love sodas and am not overweight by any means. If anything, I am underweight for my height (5'6 115lbs) I drink soda every day because I love it. I know the health risks associated with it THEREFORE I try not to drink more than 8oz. a day. Anyone that drinks sodas KNOWs how bad they are for you so it's THEIR own personal responsibility to limit the amount they drink every day. It is not the soda companies fault, it is the individual who buys and consumes these drinks. It should be each INDIVIDUALS responsibility to limit the amount of 'toxic' substances they put in their body daily if they want to live longer. Common sense. I have ZERO health problems (and I drink soda and smoke cigarettes) because I do stuff to make up for all the 'bad' stuff i put in my body (exercise, drink twice the amount of water you're supposed to in a day, take as many deep breaths outside as I can, and much more) I do all of this because I KNOW what I'm putting in my body will one day hurt me, I do not blame the soda or tobacco companies for doing this to me BECAUSE I CHOOSE TO DO IT, just like every other American has the right to do. Maybe if I die bc I get lung cancer from smoking, my family can sue the **** out of Marlboro and be rich.


Lazy, Fat, and people who don’t respect their body but then blame other people for their problems is ONE of many things that is wrong with this country. Rant end.

Mar 20, 2013 3:04PM
So does drinking too much water. Quite quickly if you don't go to the bathroom.
Mar 20, 2013 3:31PM
People in society worry so much about what they consume. Yes, moderation is the key in any food consumption. But, why do many want to live to be 100. I don't  I've been in nursing homes and seen the horrible people that are kept alive because of drugs.No quality of life.I'll take my chances with my coke because it's American like pie,which I also like.Come to think about it, why do these "all-knowing people" have to spoil life for what makes absolutely no sense for us enjoying life? MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!!!!!!!!!!
Mar 20, 2013 2:59PM
But it is getting out of hand the crazy sizes of soda cups... but I think it comes down to the individual choices...
Mar 20, 2013 2:43PM
Don't ban the drinks, allow them to get as big as they want but also allow health insurance companies to roll out high risk health insurance to go along with it or refuse to insure people with high risk just like they do with car insurance.  That'll curb obesity immediately when people realize the money they are spending to remain fat or the coverage that they can't get.
Mar 20, 2013 4:13PM
I'm in the medical field......I assure you, these prescription drugs that every doctor is all to eager to give out, & patient's blindly taking because they think a pill is the answer to everything..... are doing FAR more damage than any soda.   FAR MORE.
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