Research by Harvard school of public health suggests a soda a day is enough to raise the risk of heart attacks by one third, while significantly raising the chance of type two diabetes and stroke.
The study reports that regularly drinking sugary drinks increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by a quarter (26 per cent), the risk of heart attack or fatal heart disease by a third (35 per cent) and the risk of stroke by a sixth (16 per cent).
The study–the most comprehensive review of evidence of health effects of sugary drinks to date– follows new official UK advice which says adults should restrict their sugar intake to just 30 grams–seven teaspoons–a day.
The guidelines mean that one can of soda would exceed the daily limit.
The new research looked at dozens of studies, and explored how different types of sugar metabolizes in the body.
Experts said eliminating or cutting out sugar-sweetened drinks was a simple way to reduce weight and prevent a host of cardio-metabolic diseases.
Harvard Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology Dr Frank Hu said: “Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages can lead to weight gain because the liquid calories are not filling, and so people don’t reduce their food intake at subsequent meals.”
“Although reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages or added sugar alone is unlikely to solve the obesity epidemic entirely, limiting intake is one simple change that will have a measurable impact on weight control and prevention of cardio-metabolic diseases,” Hu and his team conclude.
“Our findings underscore the urgent need for public health strategies that reduce the consumption of these drinks.”