Sugary Drinks Linked to Higher Cholesterol Levels and Heart Disease
Are you a daily soda drinker? New research shows that adults who drink at least one sugary beverage each day have a greater risk of developing dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The study, which was recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, looked at data from more than 6,000 respondents with a similar calorie intake. What they found was that middle-aged and older adults who drink one sugary beverage each day – soda, juice, and other sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) – are more likely to see an increase in triglyceride concentrations, along with being at a higher risk of incident dyslipidemia.
In fact, sugary beverage drinkers had a 98% higher chance of developing low HDL levels (good cholesterol) and a 53% higher chance of developing high triglycerides, according to the study.
Good news for diet soda drinkers, however. Average consumption of low-calorie sweetened beverages (a few drinks each week) was not associated with changes in cholesterol, cholesterol concentrations, or incident lipidemia.
What does this mean for you?
If you’re a daily soda drinker, you’re putting yourself at risk for numerous health problems that go beyond higher cholesterol and heart disease. There have been many different studies explaining the link between soda consumption and diabetes, obesity, and more – and it’s safe to say that consuming too much sugar has a negative impact on your health.
Unfortunately, the only way to curb your sugary beverage habits is to find a healthy alternative and cut back on your consumption. Low-calorie, low-sugar diet sodas can be a suitable alternative, if they’re drank in moderation. Regardless of it being low-calorie or low-sugar, a can of soda every day is bad for you no matter how you slice it.
Have you tried drinking tea?
If you’re looking for a healthy alternative that isn’t just water, unsweetened tea has been shown to have several heart-healthy benefits. One study, which looked at more than 100,000 adults in China over the span of 22 years, found that habitually drinking three cups of tea each week helped lead to:
- 20% lower risk of cardiovascular incident
- 22% reduced risk of cardiovascular death
- 15% reduced risk for premature death
Furthermore, according to the Journal of the American Heart Association, tea consumption helps slow the decrease in HDL (good cholesterol) that naturally occurs during aging, while also reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) that can build up in your arteries.
Whatever you choose, just know that limiting your sugary beverage consumption to just a few drinks each month can help make some significant improvements to your cholesterol and overall health, along with the help of diet and exercise.