Just one can of coke a day can increase your risk of dying of heart disease by as much as 31%.
This is the finding of a new Harvard study into the effects of sugar on the body, which determined that the same is true of sweetened fruit juices and energy drinks. The study also found that the same behaviour increases the risk of premature death from any cause – including cancer – by more than a fifth.
The study revealed that this risk is lowered for those drinking diet drinks, but that it goes right back up if those drinking diet drinks consume four or more a day.
The research was carried out by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and led by Vasanti Malik, a research scientist in the department of nutrition.
“Our results provide further support to limit intake of SSBs [sugar-sweetened beverages] and to replace them with other beverages, preferably water, to improve overall health and longevity,” Malik said.
South Africa introduced a sugary drinks tax in April 2018 which levied 2.1 cents per gram of sugar on all sweetened drinks, with the first 4g of sugar per 100ml exempt as an incentive to encourage industry to reformulate its drinks to reduce their sugar content.