The result of a research study released by the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions provides evidence that women drinking two or more sugary drinks a day may increase waistline size and risk of heart disease, even if they don’t gain weight. Heart disease is the leading killer of women and men alike and closely parallels the development and progression of diabetes. Consumption of refined carbohydrates and sugar in particular dramatically increases blood fats known as triglycerides, a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease and heart attack. Small lifestyle changes that substitute sweetened beverages for healthier alternatives can dramatically lower the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes in millions of at-risk women.
Researcher’s tracked 4,166 women aged 46 to 84 and analyzed a group of studies known as a meta-analysis to determine the effect of sugary drinks on heart disease and diabetes risk. After crunching the data from these studies, it was clear that the relationship between the sweet drinks and metabolic syndrome and progression to diabetes was strong.
Two Sugary Drinks Each Day Quadruples Risk of Elevated Triglycerides Leading to Weight Gain and Heart Disease
One surprise finding was that excess weight gained by increased caloric consumption of the drinks does not directly cause diabetes. Study authors noted “Other factors independently put you at risk for developing diabetes.” While weight gain is a known diabetes risk factor, the diabetes-beverage link persisted even after adjusting for weight. Sugar from the beverages was behind the elevated risk for heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes in this analysis of research studies.
The scientists found that women, who drank at least two sugary drinks a day, were nearly four times as likely as those who consumed less than one to have high levels of triglycerides. Triglycerides are a fatty substance circulating in the blood and triggered by sugar and carbohydrate excess. High levels are a known risk factor for heart disease. In addition, they found abnormally high levels of fasting glucose, a precursor to diabetes. Supporting studies have found that even one sugared drink per day increases diabetes risk by as much as twenty-five percent.
The numbers are staggering. According to the CDC, one in two Americans drinks at least one sugary beverage daily, and one in 20 drinks four or more each day. It will come as no surprise to most health-minded women that sugar from any source promotes chronic disease, and now we have firm proof that drinking our calories in the form of sugar is in part behind the explosion of heart disease and diabetes, especially in aging women. Substitute healthful drinks such as fresh water or green tea and dramatically lower your risk of life-shortening chronic illnesses.