America's addiction to drinking sodas and other sugary drinks is deadly, according to a new University of California study.
Researchers found that at least 6,000 deaths over the past decade could have been prevented if Americans drank less sugary beverages.
"A lot of people drink these drinks on a daily basis and they have little to no nutritional value. We want the public to know that they should not be considered a staple of the American diet," said Dr. Lisa Lambrakos, lead author and internal medicine resident at the University of California.
The study found that Americans today are drinking more soda and sweet drinks in larger portions, more frequently and on a daily basis than ever before. And that is increasing the risk for heart disease and diabetes.
But the American Beverage Association disagrees.
"Heart disease and diabetes are complex problems with no single cause and no simple solutions. Consuming sugar-sweetened beverages is not a risk factor" for either condition, the American Beverage Association (ABA) wrote in a press release on the analysis.
Still, researchers say the trend is driving up health care costs to nearly $550 million to treat those diseases.
Another new study also suggests that a new tax may help curb obesity.
Researchers estimate that people will consume fewer junk foods like pizza and soft drinks if an 18 percent tax is added to their cost. They say people would cut back enough that an adult would lose five pounds a year.
The idea of taxing sodas has already been raised in states like New York and California and cities like Philadelphia, Pa.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. And that costs nearly $147 billion a year in health care costs.