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Just one soda a day can be bad for your health
Just one soda a day can be bad for your health

July 26, 2007 (Insidermedicine) Drinking one or more soft drinks a day can increase a person’s risk of metabolic syndrome by nearly 50%, according to research published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.

People with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common in the US and it is now estimated to affect over 50 million Americans. The main underlying risk factors appear to be abdominal obesity and insulin resistance, in which the body can’t use insulin efficiently. Other conditions associated with the syndrome include physical inactivity, aging, hormonal imbalance, and genetic predisposition. 

The findings are part of the Framingham Heart Study, in which participants were followed over an eight year period and assessed with a physical exam, food frequency questionnaires, and fasting lipid, glucose, and trigyceride measurements on a regular basis.

At the start of the study, the majority of the nearly 9,000 middle-aged participants were free of metabolic syndrome.

They found that drinking one or more sodas per day, regardless of whether it was diet or caffeinated, raised the risk for metabolic syndrome by nearly 50%. 

The researchers say that greater soft drink consumption has been linked to more calorie and saturated and trans fat intake, less fibre and dairy intake, and less physical activity. These factors would likely contribute significantly to the increased risk for metabolic syndrome.

While a community-based approach to cutting down on soft drinks might be beneficial, cutting back on one food type is usually not helpful. The most effective way to approach the problem is to eat more fruits and vegetables, reduce calorie overall consumption, get more exercise, restrict salt intake, and eat appropriate sized portions.

Reporting for Insidermedicine, I’m Dr. Susan Sharma.