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Sugary Drinks Hike Heart Risk for Women

By Sandy Schroeder

If you are sipping a soda or sweetened tea while you read this, you may want to read on and then switch to waters or unsweetened drinks. The reported research is about women, but I think men might heed the signal too.

University of California San Diego researchers studied 100,000 female California teachers and found those who drank a lot of sodas and sweetened juices were at a greater risk of heart disease.

The risk jumped 20 percent for women who drank one or more sugary sodas a day, versus those who never did. That risk also applied to sugary loaded fruit juices.

Lead author Dr. Cheryl Anderson explained why sugary drinks are so deadly. She said, "Sugary drinks raise glucose levels and insulin concentrations in the blood, which increases appetite and leads to obesity, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease."

Also Anderson said too much sugar in the blood links to inflammation, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, oxidative stress, and type 2 diabetes which narrow the arteries and trigger heart disease.

Quick Profile

Women who drank the most sugary drinks were likely to be like this.

  • Younger
  • Smokers
  • Obese
  • Eat unhealthy diets
  • 21 percent more likely to have a stroke
  • 26 percent more likely to need angioplasty to restore blood flow

Risks in Different Drinks

Sugar sweetened fruit drinks raised the risk of heart disease by 42 percent. Sweetened sodas raised heart disease risks by 23 percent. Diet soda with artificial sweeteners such as saccharin or aspartame have also been linked with greater health risks.

Water Is the Answer

Ice cold chilled water in pitchers filled with slices of lemon or lime can be the answer. You can also carry a canister of water or park one on your desk. If you are used to a lot of sugary sodas or fruit juices, start cutting back and adding more and more water. Drink a glass of chilled water before each meal. Serve iced water with dinner. Keep lopping out those brimming glasses of orange juice or sweetened cranberry juice and eat whole fruit instead. Gradually you will lose your taste for the extra sugar.

Adding more water to your family's diet can be a great idea too. Keep adding more naturally sweet whole fruits and unsweetened drinks to the fridge and freeze popsicles with natural unsweetened juices for treats in hot weather.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Brea, Calif.

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