So you need one sugary soda to get you going in the morning and another around lunch. Does that mean you are setting yourself up for cardiovascular disease and diabetes?
According to a new report by the American Heart Association, which has a Huntsville chapter, you are at least increasing your risks for those conditions, especially if you are female. The AHA says reports that heart disease is the number one killer of women.
After tracking 4,166 women ages 45 to 84 for five years, researchers discovered that women who drank at least two sugary drinks a day were nearly four times as likely as those who drank no more than one to have high levels of triglycerides, a fatty substance that in excess has been linked to heart disease, and abnormal levels of fasting glucose, a precursor to diabetes.
The study also showed that women who drank two or more sodas a day also had more belly fat, even if they didn’t weigh more than the others. Experts say that belly fat increases the risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol, and can drastically affect insulin production.
Researchers involved in this study say it provides an easy solution to decreasing risks for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. All you have to do is cut down your soda consumption or, for optimum health, cut it out completely.
“Previous studies have shown that sugar-sweetened beverages are strongly associated with weight gain,” said lead author Vasanti Malik, a research fellow in the Harvard School of Public Health Department of Nutrition. He added that examining the relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of diabetes was “the logical next step.”
The American Beverage Association released a statement questioning the study’s validity:
“This type of study cannot show that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages causes increased risk for cardiovascular disease. It simply looks at associations between the two, which could be the result of numerous other confounding factors. The American Heart Association states that two of the major risk factors for heart disease are increasing age and family history of cardiovascular disease. Yet this study, which looked at people ages 45 to 84, did not control for either factor. Furthermore, participants who consumed two or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day at the beginning of the study already had a number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease. And while overweight or obesity are known cardiovascular disease risk factors, the evidence that one type of food or beverage causes heart disease simply is not there.”
If you have questions about heart disease or diabetes, check with your doctor. You can also check with your local AHA office. In Huntsville, you can call the local chapter at 1-800-257-6941, ext. 1508.