Sugary Drinks: A Health Risk for Women
Reported November 16, 2011
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Drinking two or more sugar-sweetened beverages a day
may expand a woman’s waistline and increase her risk of heart disease and
diabetes, according to this study.
In this study, researchers compared middle-aged and older women who drank
two or more sugar-sweetened beverages a day, such as sodas or flavored
waters with added sugar, to women who drank one or less daily. Women
consuming two or more beverages per day were nearly four times as likely to
develop high triglycerides, and were significantly more likely to increase
their waist sizes and to develop impaired fasting glucose levels. The same
associations were not observed in men.
"Women who drank more than two sugar-sweetened drinks a day had increasing
waist sizes, but weren't necessarily gaining weight," Christina Shay, Ph.D.,
lead author of the study and assistant professor at the University of
Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, was quoted as saying.
"These women also developed high triglycerides and women with normal blood
glucose levels more frequently went from having a low risk to a high risk of
developing diabetes over time."
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) included food frequency
surveys in 4,166 African-American, Caucasian, Chinese-Americans and Hispanic
adults 45 to 84 years old. At the beginning of the study the participants
didn't have cardiovascular disease.
Researchers assessed risk factors in three follow-up exams spanning five
years starting in 2002. Participants were monitored for weight gain,
increases in waist circumference, low levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL
"good" cholesterol), high levels of low density lipoproteins (LDL "bad"
cholesterol), high triglycerides, impaired fasting glucose levels, and type
"Most people assume that individuals who consume a lot of sugar-sweetened
drinks have an increase in obesity, which in turn, increases their risk for
heart disease and diabetes," said Shay, formerly of Northwestern
University's Department of Preventive Medicine in Chicago, where the study
was conducted. "Although this does occur, this study showed that risk
factors for heart disease and stroke developed even when the women didn't
Women may have a greater chance for developing cardiovascular disease risk
factors from sugar-sweetened drinks because they require fewer calories than
men which makes each calorie count more towards cardiovascular risk in
women, Shay explained.
Researchers have yet to determine exactly how sugar-sweetened beverages
influence cardiovascular risk factors such as high triglycerides in
individuals who do not gain weight, but further work is planned to try and
figure that out.
SOURCE: American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011 held in
Orlando, Florida from November 12-16, 2011