The Negative Effects of Soda Pop

From my previous post regarding soda and diabetes, I’ve stumbled upon even more information revealing soda to be detrimental to overall health.

A typical 12 oz can of soda contains 35 grams of sugar which is equal to about nine teaspoons! A new review in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology – the most comprehensive review on sugar-sweetened beverages to date –  has found that drinks high in sugar (soda, energy drinks, and any artificially sweetened drinks) can have an adverse affect on the heart increasing the risk of heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. This review was performed by Vasanti Malik who is a nutrition research scientist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston and Frank Hu, MD, PhD, a Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The paper reviewed data from recent epidemiological studies revealing that consuming one or two servings a day of sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to the following:

  • a 16% increased risk of stroke
  • a 35% greater risk of heart attack or fatal heart disease, and
  • a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes

The reason why these sugary beverages have such an impact on overall health is because of fructose’s behavior in the body. Compared to glucose which is metabolized in the gastrointestinal tract and used as fuel for the bodies cells, fructose is metabolized in the liver and converted to fat compounds (triglycerides) leading to fatty liver, increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol, and insulin resistance which is a key factor in developing type 2 diabetes.

Hu explains that fructose is rarely consumed in isolation and the major source in our diet comes from fructose-infused drinks containing sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. Hu also states that their findings reveal the urgent need for public health strategies that call for a reduction in the consumption of these drinks.

Although halting the consumption of sugar infused drinks isn’t going to be the cure-all for heart disease and diabetes, it can definitely play a role in reducing the epidemic to have a measurable impact.

To better educate the consumer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed a new labeling system identifying the amount of sugar added to a product, compared to the amount that naturally occurs. Hopefully this will play a role in reducing the daily intake of these sugar infused drinks.

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