DRINKING just two cans of fizzy drink a week increases your risk of deadly heart disease and stroke.
Your favourite pop is also driving up your risk of diabetes.
The sugar-laden drinks have long been known to cause obesity, which is linked to an array of different health problems.
And now new research suggests drinking just one 330ml can of soft drink can cause your blood pressure to spike as many of them contain 14 more grams than your daily recommended sugar intake.
Experts have discovered that sugar-sweetened drinks are linked to a metabolic syndrome – a cluster of risk factors that raise your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
The World Health Organisation estimates there are about 19 million deaths worldwide each year due to metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
Faadiel Essop, of Stellenbosch University in South Africa, said: “Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is steadily rising among all age groups worldwide.
“Our analysis revealed that most studies strongly show that frequent intake of these beverages contributes to the onset of the metabolic syndrome, diabetes and hypertension.”
It is generally recommended that sugar intakes should only be about five per cent of your daily energy intake.
So that means no more than seven teaspoons per day for the average adult – the equivalent to a small glass of fruit juice and a flavoured yoghurt each day.
Children should be consuming far less than that.
Kids aged two and under should have just 3 teaspoons per day, kids aged three to six should have no more than four teaspoons a day and kids between seven and 10 should have no more than six teaspoons. But just one can of Coke contains a massive 35 grams of sugar, or seven teaspoons.
So that’s your recommended daily amount in just one drink.
Pepsi is slightly worse, containing 41 grams of sugar or eight teaspoons and Dr Pepper is packed with 24 grams of sugar, the equivalent of five teaspoons.
Fruitier drinks like Fanta and Sprite are also laden with sugar.
One can of orange Fanta contains 23 grams or five teaspoons of sugar and Sprite contains 38 grams of sugar, which is almost eight teaspoons.
Lilt is one of the better options but still contains a lot of sugar with 15 grams, or three teaspoons per can.
And if you prefer Irn Bru one can means you are consuming 34 grams, or seven teaspoons, of sugar.
Faadiel and his team reviewed 36 studies on the cardiometabolic effects of soft drinks.
They found most studies found a link between cans of pop and the risk of developing risk factors for stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
Most of the studies they reviewed looked at people who drank more than five soft drinks a week – less than one a day.
They concluded that just two cans a week was enough to raise a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes.
“The findings demonstrate there is a clear need for public education about the harmful effects of excess consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages,” Essop added.
“But our understanding of this topic would benefit from additional research to further clarify how sugar-sweetened beverages affect our health.
“We do see some limitations in the current research on this topic, including a need for longer-term studies and standardised research methods.”
Eating excess amounts of sugar is also linked to obesity – and obesity rates in the UK have trebled in the last 30 years.
Those who are overweight are also more at risk of type 2 diabetes, which comes with the risk of complications including heart attack, stroke and diseases.
Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of the disease – accounting for between 85 and 95 per cent of all cases, according to Diabetes UK.
It is usually associated with obesity and occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level.
Carrying excess weight around your tummy, a common side effect of eating too much sugar, increases your risk of the disease because it releases chemicals that can upset the body’s metabolism.