Daily consumption of sugary drinks can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (AHA).
The study showed that even a single daily serving of sugary beverages can increase the chances of developing CVD by 20 percent, while fruit drinks with added sugar raise this percentage to 42 percent,
The participants in the study of the relationship between sugar consumption and heart disease were around 106,000 women at an average age of 52, without any medical history of CVD. Those who consumed at least one sugary drink a day were discovered to be at a 26 percent higher risk of developing deteriorated heart health and clogged arteries with cholesterol plaques as compared to those who rarely or never consumed sweetened beverages. These women were also 21 percent more likely to have strokes and develop obesity.
However, based on follow-ups over two decades, several subjects began to show signs of these conditions.
The lead researcher explained that the study does not prove a cause-effect relationship between sugar and CVD but sugar could increase its risk, like increased glucose levels in the blood and insulin.
The study’s lead author, Cheryl Anderson, who is also a professor of family and public health at the University of California San Diego, stated, “We hypothesize that sugar may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases in several ways. It raises glucose levels and insulin concentrations in the blood, which may increase appetite and lead to obesity, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease”.
It raises glucose levels and insulin concentrations in the blood, which may increase appetite and lead to obesity, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Anderson added that excessive sugar is associated with inflammation, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. It can also cause oxidative stress and unhealthy cholesterol, all of which are strongly linked to atherosclerosis — the narrowing of arteries that is a major cause of heart attack.
A regular small can of soda contains more than eight teaspoons of sugar and approximately 130 calories. The AHA recommends that women consume no more than 100 calories per day, while the calorie limit for men is 150. It added that water is the best drink to have throughout the day, and sugar cravings can be mitigated with healthy options like a homemade fruit smoothie.