A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that sugary drinks may boost risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attack, fatal heart disease, and stroke. They may also contribute to weight gain, obesity, and fuel inflammatory arthritis.
According to the research, which is the most comprehensive review of studies focused on health risks of soft drinks to date, the most dangerous sugar-sweetened beverages are those containing high fructose corn syrup and sucrose.
Study authors suggest that the main culprit for the above mentioned health effects is fructose. And a major source of fructose is sugary drinks which many of us consume nearly every day.
Dr. Frank Hu, lead author of the research and nutrition and epidemiology researcher at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, believes that the recent findings should convince regulators to promote public health policies that can greatly limit consumption of these beverages.
High fructose corn syrup, one of the most popular sweeteners used in sugary drinks for low-cost and convenience, has replaced sucrose in many sweetened drinks and foods across the U.S. in the last four decades.
Although soft drink consumption has decreased in the past decade, half of the U.S. population didn’t remove sugar-sweetened beverages from their diet. In fact half of Americans indulge into the sugary elixirs every day. Additionally, one in four Americans consumes 200 calories worth of sweet beverages, while five percent drinks double that number every day.
Four cans of soft drinks mean 500 additional calories, which many people do not take the time to take into account or reduce the calorie intake of food accordingly. This is why, sugary drinks may lead to weight gain and obesity on the long run without us even knowing it.
Furthermore, liquid calories from sweetened beverages do not make us feel longer full; as a result we tend to counterbalance that effect by overeating which also leads to excessive weight gain.
Dr. Hu noted that many past studies linked soft drinks with weight gain and obesity. So the recent findings are not that new.
According to the recent review paper, one to two serving of sodas every day can increase by 35 percent risk of heart attack, by 26 percent risk of diabetes, and by 16 percent risk of stroke.
Researchers also explained that high fructose content is particularly unhealthy because of the way our body metabolizes the compound. Glucose is easily absorbed from the gut into bloodstream and cells, while fructose is metabolized in the liver.
This is why fructose boosts triglyceride levels and can lead to a plethora of negative health effects including high cholesterol, heart disease, fatty liver disease, diabetes, acidic blood, and inflammatory arthritis.
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