Nix the soda, protect your heart

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that even low consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages can contribute to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Sugary drinks such as soda, sports drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages have been associated with weight gain in children and adults for the past decade. Currently, the overweight and obesity rate in the United States is over 68% of the total population. There is a well-established link between obesity and increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but not much research has been done to evaluate the link between sugary drinks and cardiovascular disease risk in people that are not obese.
The study aimed to assess how the intake of sugary drinks in varying sugar doses impacted the cardiovascular health of normal weight people (those with a BMI of 19-25). This randomized controlled trial included 29 men ages 20-50 years old, who participated in a 3 week intervention. Laboratory tests were conducted at the end of the trial to assess the outcome. The study revealed that even at the lowest clinically tested dose, 40 grams sugar per day, cardiovascular risk factors including fasting glucose and waist-to-hip ratio were all elevated. C- Reactive protein, a marker in blood for inflammation that has been associated with numerous health conditions such as diabetes and heart attack, showed a statistically significant increase in all men that participated in the trial. As a reference marker, 40 grams of sugar per day is equal to 12 fl oz bottle of Coke or an 11oz chocolate flavored breakfast drink.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women. It is an umbrella term used to describe all diseases that impact the cardiovascular system and includes stroke, heart disease, and hypertension. This study reinforces the need for all people, of normal weight or overweight, to eliminate their intake of added sugar from sugar sweetened beverages. Be sure to read food labels carefully when purchasing drinks to ensure that no sugar has been added. Natural sugars, such as those found in fruits, do not count as a sugar sweetened beverage, but make sure that all juices are 100% fruit juice with no added sugar. Click on the link to read more about this study

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