You have no doubt heard that sugary, high fructose corn syrup soda is a major contributing factor to the nation’s ever-growing waistline, but new research indicates that even in moderation, drinking just one soda a day is a major health risk, especially for men.
According to a new study published in the medical journal Circulation, a daily soda increases your heart risk, even if it’s not leading to much weight gain.
The ingestion of such high concentrations of sugar “appears to be an independent risk factor for heart disease,” says the study’s lead author Frank Hu, M.D., a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), in Boston.
“Continually subjecting our bodies to high amounts of glucose, to high blood sugar levels that trigger large secretions of insulin results in stresses that in the long run show up as high risk of heart disease and diabetes,” the study’s co-author, Dr. Walter Willett, told CBS News.
The study tracked 42,833 men over 22 years, following their diet, weight, smoking and exercise patterns. In the end, researchers discovered that men who drank a single 12-ounce soda per day increased their risk of heart attack by 20 percent.
So much sugar, so little time
The researchers said a typical 12-ounce soda contains a whopping 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is a very large amount over a relatively short period of time. But they also said the study didn’t necessarily confirm that sugar itself was to blame.
“It’s very likely people who choose to drink sugared soft drinks actually have a variety of health habits that are not heart healthy, and it may well be those health habits that are responsible for the increase in risk,” Willett said.
Still, the data was enough to confirm what scientists, dieticians, nutritionists and researchers have known for years.
“We already know that sugary beverages are associated with increased obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic issues,” Hu said. “This adds further evidence that sugary beverages are detrimental to our health.”