Drinking one or more sugary beverages every day was linked with nearly a 20 percent higher risk of having cardiovascular disease, a 21 percent higher risk of having a stroke, and with a 26 percent higher chance of needing a procedure to open clogged arteries, such as angioplasty, compared to women who rarely or never drank sugary beverages.
The new US study from the University of California San Diego postulates that consuming one or more sugary drinks per day could increase a woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
The study explored more than 106,000 women with an average age of 52 who were free of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes when they enrolled in the study.
The type of sugary drink taken seems to affect the risk of experiencing a cardiovascular problem. Drinking one or more sugar-added fruit drinks daily is linked with a 42 percent greater risk of having cardiovascular disease, and drinking soft drinks such as sodas every day linked with a 23 percent higher risk, compared to those who rarely or never drank sugary beverages.
The findings were published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open-access journal of the American Heart Association.
It was discovered that the participants who drank the most sugar-sweetened beverage intake were younger, more likely to be current smokers and were also obese and less likely to eat healthy foods.
The women were asked to report on what and how many caloric soft drinks – sugary drinks they consumed each day. These include sweetened bottled waters or teas, and sugar-added fruit drinks, but not 100 percent fruit juices. Hospital records were used to ascertain who experienced a heart attack, stroke or surgery to open clogged arteries during the course of the study.
The researchers add that water is the healthiest beverage to drink regularly and has no sugar, no artificial sweeteners and no calories.
Lead study author Cheryl Anderson (Ph.D., MPH, MS) said the study is observational and does not prove cause and effect. It was clarified they hypothesized that sugar may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases in several ways.
Sugar 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: “In addition, too much sugar in the blood is associated with oxidative stress and inflammation, insulin resistance, unhealthy cholesterol profiles and type 2 diabetes, conditions that are strongly linked to the development of atherosclerosis, the slow narrowing of the arteries that underlies most cardiovascular disease.”
The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to no more than 100 calories a day (6 teaspoons of sugar or 25 grams) for most women, and no more than 150 calories a day (9 teaspoons of sugar or 38 grams) for most men. To put it into context, a typical 12-ounce can of regular soda has 130 calories and 8 teaspoons (34 grams) of sugar.