In the past 10 years, sweetened soft drinks drowned us in a tidal wave of diabetes and heart disease, according to a new U.S. study, reported by HealthDay News.

Specifically, the study linked sweetened beverages to 130,000 new cases of diabetes, 14,000 new cases of heart disease and an increase in the years people lived with heart disease.

For the study, researchers applied a computer simulation of heart disease to obesity and dietary salt, conditions that are risk factors for cardiovascular illnesses.

“We probably underestimated the incidence, because the rise is greatest among the young, and our model focuses on adults 35 and older,” said Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California in San Francisco, and the study’s lead author.

“Whatever the mechanism, large population studies do suggest an effect of drinking lots of sweetened beverages,” Bibbins-Domingo added. “No one argues that these drinks are not fine in moderation, but over the past decade their consumption has been on the rise, while consumption of other beverages has declined.”

Since the study hasn’t been published in a scientific journal, other researchers haven’t yet reviewed the findings, said Maureen Storey, senior vice president for science policy for the American Beverage Association.

Storey issued a statement saying that the American Heart Association does not list the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks as a heart disease risk factor.

But that doesn’t mean reducing consumption of these beverages won’t boost people’s health, countered Bibbins-Domingo.

To counter the health risks associated with sugary drinks, some politicians have proposed taxing the beverages. Bibbins-Domingo said that any policy that would reduce the number of sweetened drinks consumed has scientific merit because “evidence in populations has consistently shown that more than one [sugary] drink a day increases your risk” of heart disease and diabetes.

But Storey called these two diseases complex conditions that have no single cause and single solution.

“We need to continue to educate Americans about the importance of balancing the calories from the foods and beverages we eat and drink with regular physical activity,” Storey said.

And what does the American Heart Association (AHA) say?

Simply put, the AHA advises people to stop drinking so many sugary drinks, such as sodas, said Robert H. Eckel, MD, a past president of the association, and a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado.

The recommended daily sugar intake for men is found in one can of sugar-sweetened soda; for women, it is slightly less, Eckel said.

Eckel stressed that there are other healthier sweet-drink choices for people, such as nutrient-rich, 100 percent fruit juice.

To read more about the cardiovascular effects of dietary sugar, click here to visit the American Heart Association’s website.

Read Real Health’s “How Sweet It Is(n’t)” for more about the role sugar plays in our everyday diet.