At the end of a long day, it’s so refreshing to sit back and crack open an ice-cold bottle of Coca-Cola to unwind or sip on your favorite sweetened tea with dinner. But while they may be delicious in moderation, consuming these sugary drinks too often could end up increasing your risk of death as you get older.
Just how bad can those drinks be for your body long-term? Researchers at the University of California San Diego recently conducted a study investigating the link between sugary beverage intake and different health outcomes. Scientists used data from over 100,000 participants with a median age of 53 who took part in the California Teachers Study between 1995 and 2015. They looked at several key beverages: Regular soft drinks, sweetened bottled waters and teas, and sweetened fruit drinks.
The researchers unearthed a few key findings, chief of which was that consuming seven or more sugary drinks per week led to a significant increase in the risk of death and cancer. The good news, however, is that drinking a lesser amount of these beverages weekly didn’t necessarily create any uptick in mortality risk. In other words, you don’t have to swear off these drinks entirely; you’ll just have to be sure to consume them in moderation, as opposed to every day or with every meal.
Scientists point out that they’ll need to do more research given that all participant data was self-reported, and their study excluded certain kinds of sugary beverages, like diet sodas. That said, their conclusions are backed up by other work showing that consuming drinks high in sugar content may also lead to weight gain, diabetes, tooth decay, and arthritis over time.
It might be time to make a swap for water or unsweetened tea the next time you’re choosing a beverage. Moderation is key!