If you’re working to lower the amount of sugar in your diet, don’t overlook your beverages. Nearly half of all added sugars consumed in the average American diet come in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages. The link between sugary drinks and heart disease has long been known, but new research is showing just how close that link is.
How Sugary Drinks Raise Heart Disease Risk
In an observational study of 106,000 women with an average age of 52, researchers found a 20% greater likelihood of cardiovascular disease in those who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened drinks per day. Interestingly, fruit drinks with added sugar correlated to a 42% greater likelihood of disease.
There are several ways in which sugary drinks may increase heart disease risk. Elevated levels of sugar and insulin in the blood can lead to inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes and high cholesterol. High blood sugar can also cause an increased appetite, weight gain and obesity. All of these are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
What’s the best way to reduce the risk of heart disease from sugar-sweetened beverages? Drink less of them! Start with replacing just one per day with water or a drink with no added sugar (staying away from artificial sweeteners, if possible). Consider infusing fruit in water for added flavor and health benefits.
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