1146 GMT March 29, 2020
The added sugar in sodas, fruit drinks, sweet teas and energy drinks affects the body in ways that increase risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke, said review author Vasanti Malik, a nutrition research scientist at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
Consuming one or two servings a day of sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to a 35-percent greater risk of heart attack or fatal heart disease, a 16-percent increased risk of stroke and as much as a 26-percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the report concluded, HealthDay wrote.
"Reducing the consumption of these drinks, it's not going to solve the heart disease epidemic, but it's one step that can have a measurable impact," Malik said. "It's not the only thing that needs to be done, but it's a very important thing.
"Previously, everything focused on low fat, and reducing fat and cholesterol," said Chaparro, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "The dietary guidelines that are about to come out really focus on added sugars, and not as much on cholesterol and total fat. Those are important, but the impact of sugar has become much more profound."
Researchers believe both fructose and glucose damage the heart. Glucose spikes blood glucose and causes insulin levels to rise, which can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, Malik said. Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease.
Fructose also causes heart health issues, but in more insidious ways. Its presence can prompt the liver to release triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol into the bloodstream, Malik said. Too much fructose can lead to fatty liver disease.
Overconsumption of fructose can also lead to too much uric acid in the blood, which is associated with a greater risk of gout, a painful inflammatory arthritis. Inflammation also has been linked to heart disease, Malik said.
Finally, fructose has been shown to promote the accumulation of belly fat, another risk factor for heart disease, she said.