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Apr 2, 2012

Daily Soda Intake Raises Risk for Heart Attack in Men

A new study published in Circulation has found that regular intake of soda, even in moderation, has detrimental effects on health. According to Frank Hu, M.D., a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, consumption of sugar in high concentrations “appears to be an independent risk factor for heart disease."

In the study, researchers monitored the diet, weight, exercise, and smoking habits of nearly 43,000 men over the period of 22 years. Blood samples were taken from about 40 percent of the participants. Results of the study indicated that the men consuming just one 12-ounce soda daily had a 20 percent elevated risk for heart attack. In addition, men who consumed any type of sugary beverage at least once each day were found to have higher triglyceride levels, lower HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels, and higher levels of C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation).

Co-author of the study, Dr. Walter Willett, pointed out that “Continually subjecting our bodies to high amounts of glucose, to high blood sugar levels that trigger large secretions of insulin results in stresses that in the long run show up as high risk of heart disease and diabetes.”

According to the researchers, 10 teaspoons of sugar are contained within a standard 12-ounce soda! While the results of this study cannot directly attribute the increased risk for heart disease to the sugar, 10 teaspoons of sugar is an obviously very large amount to consume in a relatively short amount of time.

Excessive levels of sugar in the diet are known to contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic inflammatory conditions. This study further supports the importance of limiting or even completely eliminating soda from one’s diet in order to optimize health.

Dr. Shana McQueen