Fizzy drinks not what doc or­dered

They can lead to a va­ri­ety of con­di­tions that raises risk of heart dis­ease

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS - PIc­ture: AP

IF YOU’RE a fan of fizzy drinks, fruit juices and sug­ary sports drinks, you’re prob­a­bly not do­ing your heart any favours. A new re­view sug­gests that reg­u­larly quench­ing your thirst with sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­ages not only con­trib­utes to your risk of gain­ing weight, it also ups your chances of de­vel­op­ing type 2 di­a­betes and meta­bolic syn­drome, a clus­ter of con­di­tions that raises the risk of heart dis­ease.

“Some stud­ies found that con­sum­ing as few as two serv­ings of sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­ages a week was linked to an in­creased risk of meta­bolic syn­drome, di­a­betes and heart dis­ease and stroke,” said study se­nior au­thor Faadiel Es­sop, a pro­fes­sor at Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity.

“Oth­ers found that drink­ing at least one sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­age per day was as­so­ci­ated with el­e­vated blood pres­sure,” he said, and added that even more alarm­ingly, some stud­ies found that sug­ary drinks could raise blood pres­sure in teenagers.

Meta­bolic syn­drome oc­curs when you have three or more of the fol­low­ing risk fac­tors for heart dis­ease: ab­dom­i­nal obe­sity; high lev­els of triglyc­erides (a type of blood fat); re­duced lev­els of HDL (the good) choles­terol; el­e­vated blood sugar; and, higher than nor­mal fast­ing blood sugar lev­els (but not yet high enough to be con­sid­ered di­a­betes), ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion.

The re­view in­cluded 36 stud­ies that looked at the ef­fects of sug­ary drinks on heart and meta­bolic health.

The stud­ies, which were done within the past 10 years, had var­ied find­ings, ac­cord­ing to the re­searchers. But most sug­gested an as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween drinks con­tain­ing sugar and the de­vel­op­ment of meta­bolic syn­drome. The ma­jor­ity of stud­ies also looked at peo­ple who had more than five sug­ary drinks a week.

It’s not clear exactly how these drinks in­crease the odds of meta­bolic syn­drome, Es­sop said.

But cer­tainly ex­cess con­sump­tion of sug­ary drinks is linked to a higher waist cir­cum­fer­ence – a fac­tor in meta­bolic syn­drome – and weight gain.

Such drinks have also been tied to de­creased in­sulin sen­si­tiv­ity (a risk for di­a­betes), in­flam­ma­tion, ab­nor­mal choles­terol and high blood pres­sure, he said.

“Those con­sum­ing sug­ary drinks do not feel as full as those who ate solid foods, even though they had the same amount of calo­ries,” Es­sop noted, adding that lack of sati­ety may cause peo­ple to eat or drink more.

Dr Joel Zon­szein, di­rec­tor of the clin­i­cal di­a­betes cen­tre at Mon­te­fiore Med­i­cal Cen­tre in New York City, said fruit of­fered a good ex­am­ple.

“If you eat an ap­ple you get full much eas­ier. In ad­di­tion to sugar, an ap­ple has a lot of fi­bre and the sati­ety is much bet­ter. But when you have a glass of ap­ple juice, you’re get­ting the sugar from three to four ap­ples and no fi­bre. That’s a much more con­cen­trated dose of sugar that will spike the blood sugar level,” he said.

Dr Wil­liam Ce­falu, chief sci­en­tific, med­i­cal and mis­sion of­fi­cer from the Amer­i­can Di­a­betes As­so­ci­a­tion, said the stud­ies in­cluded in this re­view were ob­ser­va­tional stud­ies, which are a good start­ing point when look­ing at med­i­cal prob­lems, but they could not prove a cause-an­d­ef­fect re­la­tion­ship.

“What we can be sure of, how­ever, is that sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­ages pro­vide a sub­stan­tial amount of ex­cess calo­ries with no nu­tri­tional ben­e­fit, and ex­cess calo­ries be­yond what is nor­mally needed by the body to main­tain nor­mal ac­tiv­i­ties, in turn, does lead to weight gain.”

And ex­cess weight is a sig­nif­i­cant risk fac­tor for type 2 di­a­betes, as well as many heart dis­ease risk fac­tors.

“Drink­ing wa­ter is the best form of hy­dra­tion for all peo­ple – with or with­out di­a­betes,” he said.

One im­por­tant ex­cep­tion, Ce­falu noted, is any­one with di­a­betes (par­tic­u­larly if treated with in­sulin) whose blood sugar is low. In that case, it’s cru­cial to quickly raise blood sugar lev­els to pre­vent se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions.

A sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­age such as juice or soda can do that quite well. – New York Times

An ex­pert says that if you eat a fruit, you get full much eas­ier. Fruit con­tains fi­bre which leaves you feel­ing more full than if you drink fruit juice.

Soda be­ing poured from a can.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.