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Study: Sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice linked to increased risk of death

Rick Armstrong, producerMay 27, 2019

New research on the risks of consuming too many sugary beverages shows sodas and juices could be linked to serious health threats.

Shanti Atwater isn’t too concerned about treating her daughter to a sugary soda once in a while. “Most of the time, I try limiting her to maybe one can a week,” Atwater told WRAL News.

“Every once in a while, they do get a little sweet tea or something like that,” added Rhonda Parker, another mother.

According to Kate Patton, a registered dietitian with the Cleveland Clinic, the concern is that sugar can become a long-term habit.

“Likely, it will lead to weight gain and possibly, eventually, obesity,” Patton said. “And then it’s the obesity that’s really causing an increased risk of death.”

Patton is referring to the results of a six year study where researchers looked at death records and dietary surveys of more than 13,000 people over age 40. They found that each additional 12 oz. serving of a sugary beverage was linked to an 11 percent increased risk of death.

With fruit juice specifically, each additional serving was associated with a 24 percent higher risk of death.

“I have looked on the back of some of the boxes and seen that -- like fruit juices and things like that seem to actually have more sugar than an actual soda,” Parker said.

Don’t be fooled by juice, Patton warns, because a lot of fruit juice is mostly sugar and water.

“You really have to be careful,” Patton said. “The portion size is what’s important because it’s really the greater recommended portion of every additional serving is what caused that increased risk.”

Patton recommends no more than 4 to 8 oz. of juice per day. If you just want to cut back on fruit juice or other sweetened drinks, Patton suggests diluting them with water to cut back on total sugar.

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