Study suggests sugary drinks may lead to higher risk of cardiovascular disease in women

Drinking one or more sugary drinks a day can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in women by nearly 20%, a new study has suggestedDrinking one or more sugary drinks a day can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in women by nearly 20%, a new study has suggested.

And women who consume any type of sugary drink daily are 21% more likely to have a stroke compared to women who rarely or never consume sugary beverages.

The study classed sugary drinks as sweetened bottled waters, caloric soft drinks and sugar-added fruit beverages. It did not include 100% fruit juices.

The report, carried out by the American Heart Association, also found differences based on the kind of drink that was consumed.

For example, drinking one or more sugar-added fruit drinks each day was linked with a 42% hike in the likelihood of cardiovascular disease.

Soft drinks, such as sodas, were associated with a lower risk of 23% in comparison to those who do not regularly drink sugary refreshments.

Major risk factor

Lead author of the study, Cheryl Anderson, is a professor at the University of California San Diego and the chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee.

‘Although the study is observational and does not prove cause and effect, we hypothesise that sugar may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases in several ways,’ she said.

‘It raises glucose levels and insulin concentrations in the blood. This may increase appetite and lead to obesity, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.’

She added: ‘In addition, too much sugar in the blood is associated with oxidative stress and inflammation, insulin resistance, unhealthy cholesterol profiles and type 2 diabetes.

‘These conditions are strongly linked to the development of atherosclerosis – the slow narrowing of the arteries that underlies most cardiovascular disease.’

The study, which has been ongoing since 1995, looked at more than 106,000 women with an average age of 52. They had not been diagnosed with stroke, heart disease or diabetes when they first enrolled.

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