Only one full, effervescent drink per day in the forties can ‘increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke’
According to new research, only one carbonated drink per day in middle age can cause a heart attack or stroke.
The drinks loaded with sugar raise cholesterol levels – which increases the risk of clots that cut off blood flow to the heart or brain.
A new study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, of nearly 6,000 over 40 people discovered that regular consumers were twice as sensitive to low levels of good cholesterol.
High density lipoprotein, a particle that absorbs the harmful blood fat or lipid and transports it back to the liver, was found to be lacking in those who drank more sugary drinks, which led to higher cholesterol and associated problems.
Sugar-laden drinks raise cholesterol levels – increasing the risk of clots that cut off blood flow to the heart or brain
The group was also 53 percent more likely to have large amounts of other bad fat, called triglycerides, that collects in blood vessels and blood vessels.
This was compared to those who rarely touched sugary soft drinks, juice or energy drinks.
An estimated six in ten people have elevated levels of cholesterol or triglycerides, a condition known as dyslipidemia.
It’s called a “silent killer,” because many aren’t aware until they have a stroke or a heart attack.
It affects about half of American adults, while the average cholesterol level in the UK is considered ‘too high’, an average of 5.7 millimoles per liter of blood.
Corresponding author Professor Nicola McKeown, a nutritionist at Tufts University in Massachusetts in the US, said: “The results suggest that a high intake of beverages with added sugar, such as soft drinks, lemonade or fruit punch, may affect the risk of dyslipidemia as we age turn into.
“A nutritional strategy to help maintain healthier cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood can be to avoid drinks with added sugars.”
First author Danielle Haslam added: “Our findings contribute to the increasing evidence that sugary drinks must be avoided to maintain long-term health.”
Cardiovascular diseases are the largest killer in the UK and claim 170,000 lives a year. It affects around seven million Britons and is responsible for one in four premature deaths.
WHAT IS HIGH CHOLESTEROL?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is vital for the normal functioning of the body.
But too much can cause it to accumulate in the arteries, limiting blood flow to the heart, brain and the rest of the body.
This increases the risk of angina, heart attacks, strokes and blood clots.
Cholesterol is made in the liver and is carried by proteins in the blood.
The first – high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – transports cholesterol from cells to the liver where it is broken down or passed on as waste. This is ‘good cholesterol’.
“Bad cholesterol” – low density lipoprotein (LDL) – carries cholesterol to cells, with excessive amounts that are then built into the vessel walls.
High cholesterol can be genetic, but it is also linked to a diet rich in saturated fat, as well as smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and a family history of stroke or heart disease.
Blood cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per liter of blood, often abbreviated to mmol / L.
The overall level of a healthy adult should be 5 mmol / L or less, while their LDL level should not exceed 3 mmol / L. An ideal level of HDL is higher than 1 mmol / L.
Cholesterol can be reduced by eating a healthy, low-fat diet; do not smoke; and exercise regularly.
If these do not help, cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins may be prescribed.
The study analyzed data from more than 5,900 middle-aged and older US residents who were followed for approximately 12 years.
High consumption of sugary drinks was linked to good HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels that, measured every four years, ‘went in the wrong direction’.
This remained the case even for the youngest participants in their forties, said first author Dr. Danielle Haslam – who is based in the same lab.
She said: ‘We saw unfavorable changes with these younger participants, but they were probably too young during the short follow-up period to know if they would eventually develop dyslipidemia.
“Our findings contribute to the increasing evidence that sugary drinks must be avoided to maintain long-term health.”
Adults who drank at least one sugary drink every day four years before a blood fat or lipid assessment were 98 and 53 percent more likely to have low good cholesterol and high triglycerides, respectively.
The researchers saw similar results when they examined the long-term intake of drinks during the 12-year study period.
Elevated bad LDL cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) and triglycerides, together with low good cholesterol levels, indicate a higher risk of heart disease.
The researchers also studied 100% fruit juice and diet drinks, common substitutes for sugar-sweetened drinks, but found no consistent associations with unfavorable changes in cholesterol and an increased risk of dyslipidemia.
But they continue to insist on moderation.
Prof. McKeown said: “We better quench our thirst with water. The emerging research into the long-term consumption of light soft drinks on health is not convincing, so it is wise to say that diet drinks should only occasionally be a pleasure.
“Regarding 100% fruit juice, it is best to limit consumption and consume whole fruit whenever possible, as recommended by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET EXIST?
• Eat at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count
• Basic meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grain
• 30 grams of fiber per day: this is the same as eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-grain cereal cookies, 2 thick slices of whole-grain bread and a large baked potato with the skin on it
• Provide some alternatives to dairy or dairy products (such as soy drinks) with options for less fat and less sugar
• Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which must be fatty)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume in small quantities
• Drink 6-8 cups / glasses of water per day
• Adults must have less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day
Source: NHS Eatwell guide
She added: “Our findings show that what we put in our glass can contribute to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease through worsening lipid levels.
“Controlling blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels is an important goal and a promising strategy to prevent heart attacks and strokes.”
As expected and consistent with previous research, the consumption of sugary drinks was not linked to an increased risk of higher bad cholesterol.
Changes in blood cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations were compared between studies. Participants themselves reported the types and frequency of drinks that they consumed.
They were members of the Framingham Heart Study, which has monitored generations in the city of Massachusetts to identify contributors to cardiovascular disease.
The researchers took into account other factors that are known to affect cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, such as obesity, general food quality, physical activity, alcohol intake and the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Deaths from cardiovascular disease among people under 75 are increasing for the first time in 50 years.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says that increasing diabetes and obesity are partly responsible.
In 2017 there were 42,384 deaths among people over 75 due to heart and blood circulation, compared to 41,042 in 2014.
The charity says that the historic pace of progress in reducing these deaths has “been slowed to a standstill.”
Carbonated drinks have been associated with many other chronic conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and liver damage.
WHAT ARE THE DANGERS ASSOCIATED WITH SWEET DRINKS?
SUGAR SWEET DRINKS
Drinking large amounts of sugar in drinks such as pop, soft drinks and juices can lead to serious health problems, including weight gain, tooth decay and diabetes.
Some drinks contain more than 40 grams of sugar – equivalent to about 10 teaspoons of sugar – and 200 or more calories in a 12 ounce serving.
The NHS says that more than 20 percent of the added sugar in adult diets comes from soft drinks and fruit juice – and up to a third for children between 11 and 18 years old.
Researchers from Oxford University calculated the impact that the levy on the government’s sugar tax, introduced in April 2018, would have on UK obesity.
They discovered that obesity would come by 9.8 percent for children aged four to ten years.
In March, Harvard School of Public Health concluded that in addition to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and strokes, the more sugary drinks a person consumed, the greater the risk of early death from any cause. The link with heart disease was particularly strong.
The study, in the journal Circulation, looked at 117,000 Americans for three decades. Those who drank two or more cans of sugary drinks per day had a 31 percent higher risk of early death from cardiovascular disease – and each subsequent drink was associated with an amazingly increased risk of 10 percent.
Researchers from the Meyer Cancer Center at the Weill Cornell, US medical school, have announced that they are starting to assess whether sugar “feeds cancer.”
Sweetened soft drinks – such as hearty or carbonated pop – increase the risk of cancer by 19 percent, according to a study conducted by researchers at Paris 13 University, Avicenne Hospital and the French Public Health Agency in July.
The researchers could not be clear whether sugary drinks directly caused the risk increase. The sugary drinks can lead to obesity, which is a known risk factor for various cancers.
ARTIFICIAL SWEET DRINKS
Experts have long debated whether sweeteners, including aspartame, saccharin and sucralose, are safe.
Studies have linked their consumption through food and diet drinks to diabetes, weight gain and cancer.
But industrial authorities have come back because regulatory authorities have consistently confirmed their safety.
In February, research from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association showed that two cans of sugar-free fizzy drinks a day could increase a woman’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke by nearly a third.
The large study of more than 80,000 women found that those who regularly drank fizz were 31 percent more likely to have a blood clot stroke, 29 percent more likely to have heart disease and 16 percent more likely to die compared to women who had them rarely drunk.
Another study in February, published in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research International, looked at the effects of artificial sweeteners on mouse embryos.
In pregnant mice that received sweeteners, malformations of mammary glands were seen in fetuses after 18 weeks, while four-week-old mice that received sweeteners ‘had a decrease in body length, limbs and tail’.
Another study, published in the May Metabolic Brain Disease journal, raised concerns about the impact of sweeteners on brain development.