Death by Soda

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent attempt to ban supersized sodas seemed a little overzealous to some critics, but new research suggests the mayor may really save some lives if it goes into effect.

That’s one interpretation you could make from a study recently presented at an American Heart Association conference, which blames sugary drinks (think soda, fruity drinks and sports thirst-quenchers) with a whopping 180,000 worldwide deaths a year.

Harvard researchers suggest in their study that these drinks are a major factor in the diabetes epidemic and contribute to some 25,000 American deaths each year.

If that isn’t enough for you to dump your soft drink habit (and discourage kids from sipping sugary drinks), consider this: Latin American countries, which have high rates of sugary drink consumption, had very high rates of death associated with this phenomenon. Meanwhile, Japan, which has one of the lowest rates of soda consumption, showed low death rates associated with sweetened drinks.