The Not-So-Sweet Link Between Sugary Drinks, Diabetes, and Early-Death Risks - Episode 21

Just how bad can sugary drinks be for your longevity? Hint: Pretty bad! When it comes to managing diabetes risks, dietary choices play a crucial role in maintaining stable blood sugar levels. A recent study conducted by Harvard University, published in April 2023 by The BMJ, sheds light on an essential aspect of blood sugar management: the impact of sugary drinks on cardiovascular health and overall mortality.

The study, which analyzed over 18.5 years of health data from more than 15,000 middle-aged and older adults with diabetes, reveals a compelling connection between sugary beverage consumption and health risks. Individuals who regularly consumed sugary drinks such as soda, fruit punch, and lemonade faced a staggering increase in health risks compared to those who opted for alternatives like coffee, tea, low-fat milk, or water.

The findings were striking: a potential 20% rise in early death, 25% higher chances of developing cardiovascular disease, and a daunting 29% increase in cardiovascular-related mortality were associated with sugary drink consumption.

However, the study also offers a glimmer of hope. Replacing just one sugary drink per day with a non-sugary alternative resulted in remarkable benefits. Researchers noted an 18% reduced risk of early death and a 24% decrease in cardiovascular-related death. Even substituting artificially sweetened beverages for sugary ones showed promising results, with an 8% lower overall mortality risk and a 15% lower risk of cardiovascular-related death.

While this observational study prevents us from making definitive conclusions, it aligns with existing evidence linking sugary drink consumption to chronic diseases and premature death in the general population. For individuals with diabetes and those at risk, these findings provide a strong argument for curbing sugary drink intake.

By replacing and reducing sugary drinks, we can help support our hearth health and potentially lead to a longer and healthier life.


Godman, H. (2023). Harvard study: Ditching sugary drinks tied to reduced diabetes complications. Retrieved from

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