Just One Sugary Drink a Day Can Harm Heart

Many of us enjoy something sweet. It might be okay to indulge now and again if you plan ahead. But if your treat is soda, juice or another type of sugar-laden drink, you might want to think again. As little as one sugar-heavy drink can do damage to your heart. And, juice was the worst offender, which might come as a surprise to people who think it’s less healthy than fruit but not as bad as soda.

A 20-year study for 100,000 patients found that drinking one or more sugary drinks a day was linked to a 19 percent higher risk for cardiovascular disease and a 21 percent increased risk for a stroke in women. Unfortunately, doctors weren’t looking at men in the study. It’s not clear how much the risk impacts men, but it’s safe to assume that sugary drinks would harm their hearts as well.

The results were heightened regardless of what the drink was: soda, juice, sweetened teas or flavored water. The researchers considered other factors to rule them out as the cause, including diet, lifestyle and having other medical conditions. People who drank juice were the worst off. Their risk of heart disease was 42 percent higher.

Although the study is observational and does not prove cause and effect, 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,” lead study author Cheryl Anderson of Univ. of California San Diego. That means the researchers cannot prove cause and effect.

The American Heart Association says you shouldn’t consume much added sugar. People should limit themselves to no more than 100 calories a day (about 6 teaspoons) for women and no more than 150 calories (9 teaspoons) for men.

Healthy foods and beverages are associated with cardiovascular health,” said Dr. Anderson. “This study shows that what you drink matters. Intake of equal to or greater than one serving per day of sugar-sweetened beverages was positively associated with CVD, revascularization and stroke.”
 
It might seem odd that juice is the most dangerous. We usually think of soda as being candy in a can. Most of us think of juice as being unhealthy but not detrimental. This new study drives home the point that all excess sugar is harmful. Fruit has fiber, which balances out the sugar and leaves you with fewer carbs to digest. When you remove the fiber, you are left with all that sugar without the fiber. Fruit is healthy and delicious, but juice is delicious and detrimental.

With all this in mind, we will be passing on all sweet drinks in the future for the sake of our hearts!
May 18, 2020
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