Middle aged adults who drink too many sugary drinks are twice as likely to die from heart disease, new research has shown.Over a period of six years, participants in the study over the age of 45 who drank at least 24 ounces of sugary beverage daily were twice as likely to die from heart disease as those consuming less than one ounce.Scientists also found an increased risk of death from all causes among top consumers of sugary drinks.But there was no link between eating sugary foods and premature death. This may be related to the different ways sugary drinks and foods are processed by the body, said the researchers.Previous studies have shown a link between added sugar and both obesity and chronic disease, but its impact on death rates has not been clear.Lead researcher Dr Jean Welsh, from Emory University in Atlanta, US, said: “There were two parts of this question we wanted to understand. Do added sugars increase risk of death from heart disease or other causes, and, if so, is there a difference in risk between sugar-sweetened beverages and sugary foods? “We believe this study adds strong data to what already exists highlighting the importance of minimising sugary beverages in our diet.”The team drew on data from almost 18,000 participants in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (Regards) study, a long-running US health and lifestyle investigation.A questionnaire was used to estimate sugary food and beverage consumption. Sugary beverages included sodas and fruit drinks while desserts and breakfast cereals were among the sugar-sweetened foods.Information from death records was compared with people’s sugar consumption habits while they were alive.The findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions meeting in New Orleans. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.