Sugary Drinks Are Not So Sweet For Your Health

SodaHYANNIS – You swill down that 12-ounce can of cola – all 136 calories.

Here’s what happens next.

Your pancreas is put on alert and begins creating insulin in response to the sugar. Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar levels spike and your liver turns the sugar into fat for storage. Eventually, your body experiences a blood sugar crash, which often motivates you to reach for another soda or some other sweet.

For the half of all Americans who consume at least one sugar-sweetened drink a day, what does this mean to your health?

Recently, one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted attempted to answer this question. Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public health found that consuming one or two sweetened drinks per day:

  • Increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26 percent
  • Heightens the risk of heart attack or fatal heart disease by 35 percent
  • Raises the risk of stroke by 16 percent

Previous to that study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology,researchers at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy analyzed sugary drink consumption – soda, sports and energy drinks, sweetened ice tea and fruit drinks – from 62 surveys involving more than 600,000 people in more than 51 countries.

The Tufts researchers’ conclusion: Since 2010, sugary drink consumption was responsible for about 184,450 deaths worldwide, with 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,450 deaths from cancer.

Now comes the latest study published in October that finds for the first time that these same sugary drinks are linked to congestive heart failure – when the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Today, more than five million people in the United States suffer from this condition, which cannot be cured, only managed.

Study author Susanna Larsson, PhD, of the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, concluded that two servings or more per day of sugary drinks increases heart failure risk by 23 percent.

The study’s participants were taken from the Cohort of Swedish Men (COSM), who lived in Sweden and were born between 1918 and 1952. Nearly 49,000 men completed a questionnaire covering a number of parameters, such as physical activity, diet, anthropometric traits and various other lifestyle factors.

Researchers adjusted their results for variables including smoking, caffeine intake, weight, daily amount of physical activity, diabetes, hypertension, fruit intake and processed meat intake.

“We have known that there is an association with all things “bad” and sweetened beverages for some time now,” said Elissa Thompson, MD, a cardiologist at Cape Cod Hospital.  “Hypertension, diabetes and obesity are chief among the associated illnesses that have been linked to consumption of excessive amounts of sweetened drinks.”

You swill down that 12-ounce can of cola – all 136 calories.

Here’s what happens next.

Your pancreas is put on alert and begins creating insulin in response to the sugar. Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar levels spike and your liver turns the sugar into fat for storage. Eventually, your body experiences a blood sugar crash, which often motivates you to reach for another soda or some other sweet.

For the half of all Americans who consume at least one sugar-sweetened drink a day, what does this mean to your health?

Recently, one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted attempted to answer this question. Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public health found that consuming one or two sweetened drinks per day:

  • Increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26 percent
  • Heightens the risk of heart attack or fatal heart disease by 35 percent
  • Raises the risk of stroke by 16 percent

Previous to that study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology,researchers at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy analyzed sugary drink consumption – soda, sports and energy drinks, sweetened ice tea and fruit drinks – from 62 surveys involving more than 600,000 people in more than 51 countries.

The Tufts researchers’ conclusion: Since 2010, sugary drink consumption was responsible for about 184,450 deaths worldwide, with 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,450 deaths from cancer.

Now comes the latest study published in October that finds for the first time that these same sugary drinks are linked to congestive heart failure – when the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Today, more than five million people in the United States suffer from this condition, which cannot be cured, only managed.

Study author Susanna Larsson, PhD, of the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, concluded that two servings or more per day of sugary drinks increases heart failure risk by 23 percent.

The study’s participants were taken from the Cohort of Swedish Men (COSM), who lived in Sweden and were born between 1918 and 1952. Nearly 49,000 men completed a questionnaire covering a number of parameters, such as physical activity, diet, anthropometric traits and various other lifestyle factors.

Researchers adjusted their results for variables including smoking, caffeine intake, weight, daily amount of physical activity, diabetes, hypertension, fruit intake and processed meat intake.

“We have known that there is an association with all things “bad” and sweetened beverages for some time now,” said Elissa Thompson, MD, a cardiologist at Cape Cod Hospital.  “Hypertension, diabetes and obesity are chief among the associated illnesses that have been linked to consumption of excessive amounts of sweetened drinks.”

By GLENN RITT, OneCape Health News

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