This is according to a new study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
In the study, the researchers listed responses from about 106,000 women who completed a food questionnaire. The survey included questions about how often they drank sugary drinks, including sodas, sports drinks, and sugary bottled waters.
Participants, whose average age was 52, were not diagnosed with heart disease, stroke or diabetes when they entered the study. Based on follow-ups over two decades, however, many have begun to show signs of These conditions.
The researchers concluded that consuming one or more sugary drinks each day was associated with an almost 20% higher likelihood of cardiovascular disease, compared to women who rarely or rarely drank sugary drinks.
Some drinks are worse than others
Those who consumed fruit drinks with added sugar daily had a 42% higher probability of suffering from cardiovascular disease than those who did not drink sugary drinks at all. (The study definition of “fruit drink” excluded fruit juices and included only flavored fruity drinks in which sugar was added.)
Frequent soda drinkers were less at risk, with a 23% higher likelihood of cardiovascular disease overall.
The American Heart Association recommends that women try to limit their intake of added sugar to no more than 100 calories per day, or 25 grams. Men should have no more than 150 calories, or 38 grams.
Sugar can narrow arteries
“We hypothesize that sugar can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in several ways,” said Cheryl Anderson, lead author, professor of family and public health at the University of California, San Diego.
“It increases glucose levels and insulin levels in the blood, which can increase appetite and lead to obesity, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. “
She noted that excess sugar is associated with inflammation, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
These conditions are linked to the development of atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of the arteries that forms the basis of most cardiovascular diseases.
For the purpose of this study, the researchers defined cardiovascular disease as the first case of a heart attack, undergoing a revascularization procedure (such as bypass surgery) or having a fatal or non-fatal stroke.
The women in this study were withdrawn from the California Teachers Study. This project started in 1995 when 133,478 women, who were active or former teachers, completed a questionnaire as part of a study on the links between smoking and breast cancer.
Since then, the large longitudinal cohort study has followed the same women who first entered 25 years ago, gleaning a glimpse of a range of associations between risk factors and health outcomes. The study has resulted in over 200 academic publications in the past 25 years.
In this cardiovascular study, the researchers extracted survey data from all women in the California Teachers Study cohort. They followed the women until these participants experienced a cardiovascular event, died, left California, or stopped taking the questionnaires.
One of the main strengths of this study is that “the observation period is longer – 20 years,” said Dr. Bob Eckel, former president of the American Heart Association and professor emeritus of medicine at the University of Colorado.
He also commended him for the level of detailed information generated on how each type of drink can contribute to risk in people’s lives.
One of the limitations of the study is that it is observational and therefore cannot establish a direct cause and effect relationship between sugary drinks and cardiovascular disease.
Water is the best drink
In a statement, a spokesperson for the American Beverage Association said that the beverage industry supports consumers’ efforts to offer low-sugar options and to provide “smaller packages and clear information about calories from the start “.
To avoid sugary drinks, the AHA says people should read nutrition labels and look for additives such as sucrose, maltose and syrups, and keep an eye out if the serving size is not the full bottle, so you don’t accidentally drink it two or three times the amount indicated.
The AHA recommends water as the best thing to sip throughout the day, and if you’re looking for something sweeter, making a fruit smoothie is a healthier way to add more flavor without gobbling some negative health consequences at the same time.
Eat a heart-healthy diet such as Mediterranean or dietary approaches to stop hypertension “with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean poultry and fish, legumes and fiber,” said Eckel.
Sugary drinks “occupy a small place in these diets”.