The study done by the Framingham researchers, which took over four years and included 9,000 middle-aged men and women, discovered that those people who have one or more soft drinks daily are more likely to have metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk factors including excess waist circumference, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL "good" cholesterol) and high fasting glucose levels. The presence of three or more of the factors increases a person's risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Prior studies linked soft drink consumption to multiple risk factors for heart disease. However, this study showed that association not only included drinking regular calorie-laden soft drinks, but artificially sweetened diet sodas as well, researchers said.
"Results also don't appear to be driven by the dietary pattern of soft drink users, i.e, by other food items that are typically consumed along with soft drinks," said Ramachandran Vasan, M.D., senior author of the Framingham Heart Study and professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. "We adjusted in our analyses for saturated fat and trans fat intake, dietary fiber consumption, total caloric intake, smoking and physical activity, and still observed a significant association of soft drink consumption and risk of developing the metabolic syndrome and multiple metabolic risk factors."
The researchers observed that compared to participants who drank less than one soft drink daily, those who drank one or more soft drinks a day had a:
- 31 percent greater risk of developing neeew-onset obesity (defined as a body mass index [BMI] of 30 kilograms/meter2 or more);
- 30 percent increased risk of developing increased waist circumference;
- 25 percent increased risk of developing high blood triglycerides or high fasting blood glucose;
- 32 percent higher risk of having low HDLLL levels.
- A trend towards an increased risk of devvveloping high blood pressure that was not statistically significant.
The bottom line is that people who drink one or more soft drinks every day face an increased risk of developing symptoms that could lead to heart disease. Moderation is the key, said the report's lead author, Ravi Dhingra, M.D., of Harvard Medical School.
Read more on the dangers of drinking the so-called "soft drinks:"
- The Facts, Stats and Dangers of Soda Pop
- Soft Drinks: Poison In A Can