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Cut down on sugary drinks to avoid weight gain, heart attack

If you are a party animal, you should read this carefully. It’s time to cut down on sugary drinks as a new study shows that sugar-sweetened beverages can lead to excess weight gain and cardiovascular disease.

health and fitness Updated: Sep 30, 2015 16:45 IST
Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages could lead to weight gain because the liquid calories are not filling, and so people don’t reduce their food intake at subsequent meals.
Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages could lead to weight gain because the liquid calories are not filling, and so people don’t reduce their food intake at subsequent meals. (Shutterstock)

If you are a party animal, you should read this carefully. It’s time to cut down on sugary drinks as a new study shows that sugar-sweetened beverages can lead to excess weight gain and cardiovascular disease.

Lead investigator Frank Hu of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said their findings underscored the urgent need for public health strategies that reduce the consumption of these drinks.

Hu said that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages could lead to weight gain because the liquid calories are not filling, and so people don’t reduce their food intake at subsequent meals.

The study revealed that consuming one or two servings of sugar-sweetened beverages a day has been linked to 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes,35% greater risk of heart attack or fatal heart disease, and 16% increased risk of stroke.

Read: How to avoid ageing? Stop guzzling down those soft drinks

Read: Parenting tips: Here’s how your kid can cultivate good eating habits

Glucose is readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream where it is transported through the action of insulin into the body’s cells to be used as fuel. However, fructose is metabolised in the liver where it can be converted to fatty compounds called triglycerides, which may lead to fatty liver disease and insulin resistance, a key risk factor for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The researchers point out that it was important to reduce total amounts of added sugars, especially in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Hu concluded that reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages or added sugar alone was unlikely to solve the obesity epidemic entirely, adding that limiting intake was one simple change that would have a measurable impact on weight control and prevention of cardio-metabolic diseases.

The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.