Are you pouring something into your cup that might kill you? If it's soda or any other sugar-laden beverage (including energy drinks, sports drinks and fruit juice), the answer is "yes."

A five-year study, by post-doctoral researcher Gitanjali M. Singh at Harvard School of Public Health, suggests sugary drinks have attributed to 180,000 obesity-related deaths globally in a year. Looking at 114 countries, areas in the Caribbean and Latin America had the highest number of soda-related deaths. In the U.S., 25,000 deaths that year were linked to drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, according to the study. In contrast, Japan, the country with the lowest consumption rates also had the lowest death rates associated with sweetened drinks.

The greatest affected population are young individuals living in wealthy nations whose per-person soda-consumption levels are above average, according to the study. The risk caused by beverages overloaded with sugar is very real. Excess consumption increases the risks of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

[via American Heart Association and Inhabitat]