A new study suggests that consuming just two fizzy drinks a week can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, while one 12-ounce can is enough to elevate blood pressure.
In addition, researchers say the “energy dense" beverages are associated with excessive caloric intake, weight gain and the development of metabolic syndrome, which along with diabetes is currently the cause of 19 million deaths a year globally.
But despite these risks, soda consumption continues to rise among all age groups.
“The increased prevalence of cardiometabolic disorders is strongly linked to greater urbanisation and the adoption of detrimental lifestyle choices that include sedentary behaviour, smoking and poor dietary preferences,” explains lead author Professor Faadiel Essop.
“Excess sugar consumption has surfaced as one of the most prominent global dietary changes during the past few decades and is considered a primary driver of cardiometabolic diseases on set."
“The findings demonstrate there is a clear need for public education about the harmful effects of excess consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages,” Essop advises.
The review – led by Stellenbosch University in South Africa – analysed 36 studies of individuals who drank more than five sugar-sweetened beverages a week and was originally published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.