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Press releases

18 March 2019

Harvard study fails to acknowledge key facts

A new study conducted in the US claims to have found that the more sugar-sweetened beverages people consumed, the greater their risk of premature death—particularly death from cardiovascular disease, and to a lesser extent from cancer.

The study, led by Harvard's School of Public Health and which involved men and women living in the US, also found that drinking one artificially-sweetened beverage (ASB) per day instead of one containing sugar lowered the risk of premature death. However, the study claims to have discovered that drinking four or more ASBs per day was associated with increased risk of mortality in women.

The study was published today (18 March 2019) in the journal Circulation.

In response to these findings, British Soft Drinks Association Director-General Gavin Partington, said:

“Soft drinks are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet. The soft drinks industry recognises it has a role to play in helping to tackle obesity which is why we have led the way in calorie and sugar reduction. Soft drinks is the only category to have already hit Public Health England’s calorie-reduction target of 20% by 2020. And Kantar Worldpanel data shows overall sugar intake from soft drinks is down by 22.9% since 2014.

“This study also claims association between diet drinks and increased risk of mortality. According to all leading health authorities in the world, including the European Food Safety Authority, low- and no-calorie sweeteners are safe. In March 2017, the UK Government and Public Health England publicly endorsed the use of low-calorie sweeteners as a safe alternative to reduce sugar in food and drink and help people manage their weight.”