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Sugary Drinks Increase Risk for Heart Disease

Apr 22, 2015 05:46 PM EDT
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Sugary drinks increase the risk of getting heart disease, even when consumed for just two weeks by young, healthy men and women.

That's according to a new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which details how beverages sweetened with low, medium and high amounts of high-fructose corn syrup significantly boost specific risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

"These findings clearly indicate that humans are acutely sensitive to the harmful effects of excess dietary sugar over a broad range of consumption levels," Kimber Stanhope, the study's lead author, said in a statement.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and around the world, killing an estimated 610,000 Americans every year - that's one in every four deaths, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This study is the first to demonstrate a direct link between consumption of added sugar and the risk of heart disease, finding that one's risk increases as the amount of added sugar consumed increases.

During the study, 85 men and women, aged 18-40, consumed beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup equivalent to 0 percent, 10 percent, 17.5 percent or 25 percent of their total daily calorie requirements.

The 0-percent control group was given a sugar-free beverage sweetened with aspartame, an artificial sweetener.

To determine the effects of this added sugar, the research team took blood samples at the start and end of the study period to monitor the changes in the levels of lipoproteins, triglycerides and uric acid - all known to be indicators of cardiovascular disease risk.

They found that these risk factors increased as the dose of high-fructose corn syrup increased.

Even the participants who consumed the 10-percent dose showed more circulating concentrations of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride compared with their concentrations at the beginning of the study.

Furthermore, most of the increases in lipid/lipoprotein risk factors for cardiovascular disease were greater in men than in women and were independent of body weight gain.

So despite the fact that added sugar like high-fructose corn syrup makes our drinks taste better, these findings show that in today's society, we need to be more careful of consuming such sugary drinks.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

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