A sugary drink a day increases your heart disease risk

  • Wellness
  • Saturday, 06 Jun 2020

A father and daughter check the ingredients label on a fruit drink at the supermarket. Drinking sugary beverages daily, including fruit drinks with added sugar, can increase a person’s risk of heart disease. — PP

Another study concludes that just one sugary drink a day can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular, or heart, disease.

Last year (2019), researchers in France found that even one small glass of soft drink or sugary juice can increase your chances of getting cancer or having heart problems.

Now, in a study published on May 13 (2020) in the Journal of the American Heart Association, California researchers in the United States have found that one serving daily of a sugary soft drink is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sugar-sweetened beverages were defined as “caloric soft drinks, sweetened bottled waters or teas, and fruit drinks.”

For their study, the scientists questioned 106.178 women free from cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus in the California Teachers Study, a cohort of female teachers and administrators who have been followed since 1995.

The women were questioned for 20 years to determine beverage consumption and whether they had been diagnosed with heart disease, stroke or diabetes.

During those two decades, many of the women began showing signs of those conditions.

The study found that women who consumed fruit drinks with added sugar daily – “fruit drink” excluded fruit juices and included only flavoured fruity drinks with added sugar – were 42% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, compared with those who drank no sugary beverages.

Frequent (but not daily) soft drinkers had less risk, with a 23% greater likelihood for cardiovascular disease overall.

The American Heart Association advises no added sugar for children younger than two years of age, no more than 100 calories from added sugar a day for children older than two years and most women, and no more than 150 calories from added sugar a day for most men.

That’s about six teaspoons or 24g of sugar for children older than two years and women, and nine teaspoons or 36g of sugar for men.

According to the Mayo Clinic in the US, one teaspoon of sugar (which equals about 4g) has about 16 calories.

A 12oz (355ml) can of regular soft drink has about 160 calories – about 10 teaspoons or 40g of sugar.

“We hypothesise that sugar may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases in several ways,” said lead author Cheryl Anderson, a professor of family and public health at the University of California, San Diego.

“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.”

In addition, she said, excessive sugar is associated with inflammation, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

To avoid consuming too much added sugar, the American Heart Association recommends reading labels.

Many foods – not just beverages – have sugar added, so checking labels can help keep amounts in check. – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Tribune News Service

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