In response to a moderated poster session, “Mortality Due to Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption: A Global, Regional, and National Comparative Risk Assessment,” presented today at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention (EPI) and Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism (NPAM) 2013 Scientific Sessions, the American Beverage Association issued the following statement:


“This abstract, which is not peer-reviewed nor published in a way where its methodology can be fully evaluated, is more about sensationalism than science.  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 researchers make a huge leap when they take beverage intake calculations from around the globe and allege that those beverages are the cause of deaths which the authors themselves acknowledge are due to chronic disease.”


Additional Background Information:

On the Poster:

This is a moderated poster session at a scientific meeting. This research has not yet been peer-reviewed, nor are the methods or details of the study available to be evaluated. This is an epidemiological study, which only shows correlations and cannot and does not show causation. This appears to be an ecological study in which population data – rather than individual patient data – are studied. Reports from the Global Burden of Disease Study, the data source used by these researchers, points to major gaps in the data. Thus, these conclusions represent a giant leap from a few data points to wild estimations.

On Diabetes:

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - one of the funding organizations of the research, those at greater risk for Type 2 diabetes include certain racial and ethnic groups (such as Hispanic/Latino, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians and Alaska Natives), as well as those who: are over age 45; have a family history of diabetes; are overweight; do not exercise regularly; have low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides; have high blood pressure; have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and/or impaired fasting glucose (IFG); have a history of cardiovascular disease; have polycystic ovary syndrome; have other clinical conditions associated with insulin resistance. Other than knowing geographical region, we have no details regarding whether these factors were accounted for in this study. Additionally, a study published late last year in the Journal of Nutrition which looked at eight European countries found no association between digestible carbohydrate, including sugar, and diabetes risk.

On Heart Disease:

Heart diseases are a complex set of problems with no single cause and no simple solution.  When it comes to risk for heart disease, there is nothing unique about the calories from added sugars, or sugar-sweetened beverages for that matter. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, the major risk factors for heart disease are:  high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, being overweight, being physically inactive, unhealthy diet and stress. While many risk factors are beyond our control, there are things we can do - including not smoking, maintaining an appropriate body weight and being physically active - to help mitigate risk for heart disease. A recent study found that atherosclerosis was found in ancient Egypt and other cultures long before sugar-sweetened beverages were invented.

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The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.  For more information on ABA, please visit the association’s Web site at or call the ABA communications team at (202) 463-6770.