People who drink this super common beverage are taking years off their life

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Even though the adverse health outcomes associated with sugary beverage consumption are pretty well-established, 50% of Americans confess to drinking at least one serving on a daily basis. This median increases among younger demographics and impoverished communities.

As obesity statistics continue to surge alongside national mortality rates , a new cohort report conducted by researchers at Tufts University in Massachusetts identifies the looming consequences in no uncertain terms.

“Limited data are available on the prospective relationship between beverage consumption and plasma lipid and lipoprotein concentrations. Two major sources of sugar in the US diet are sugar‐sweetened beverages (SSBs) and 100% fruit juices. Low‐calorie sweetened beverages are common replacements,” the authors said of the paper’s intent.

Their detailed analysis of 6,000 adults over the age of 40 concluded that drinking just one soda a day exponentially increases one’s risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke, spikes cholesterol levels, and raises an individual’s risk of developing clots that sever blood supply to the heart and brain.

The confounding factors

By the end of the 12 and a half year study period, participants who routinely consumed one 330 ml sugar-sweetened beverage serving (SSB) significantly reduced their body’s reserve of good cholesterol (HDL) while increasing their risk for developing an excess of bad cholesterol (triglycerides ).

“SSB intake was associated with adverse changes in high‐density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, along with a higher risk of incident dyslipidemia, suggesting that increased SSB consumption may contribute to the development of dyslipidemia,” the authors write in the new paper. “Our results support the recommendations to limit sugar‐sweetened beverage intake and suggest that dyslipidemia may be one mechanistic pathway whereby sugar‐sweetened beverage intake may increase cardiovascular disease risk.”

Dyslipidemia currently affects more than 102 million Americans. The condition, which describes an individual who’s cholesterol levels exceed 200 mg/dL is caused by poor diet and lifestyle habits.

From the report:

“The strengths of the present study include its large sample size, repeated assessments of dietary intakes and covariates, long follow‐up period, and prospective design. We were able to account for important lifestyle variables that could confound the association between beverage consumption and lipids such as overall diet quality, physical activity, and alcohol intake.”

The link established between sugary beverages and high mortality rates is funded by several confounding correlates.

A recent study that derived its data from the 160,000 women who participated in editions of the Nurses’ Health Study,  alongside the roughly 35,000 men who participated in the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study determined that half a serving of artificially sweetened beverages a day increased one’s risk of developing diabetes by 18%.

Conversely, replacing just one soda a day with an unsweetened option decreased an individual’s risk for developing diabetes by 10% (ideally water but even coffee substantiated this finding.) The same metrics saw individuals increase their risk for becoming obese by nearly 30%.

The new study, titled Beverage Consumption and Longitudinal Changes in Lipoprotein Concentrations and Incident Dyslipidemia in US Adults: The Framingham Heart Study, was co-authored by Danielle E. Haslam, Gina M. Peloso, Mark A. Herman, Josée Dupuis, Alice H. Lichtenstei, Caren E. Smith andNicola M. McKeown.

Read the full report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.