Sugary drinks can increase risk of heart disease

Updated: Apr 30, 2020 3:10 PM

Factors that promote insulin resistance or worsen glucose tolerance are most likely to raise the risk of mortality related to cardiovascular disease and acute MI.

The adults who consume at least one sugary beverage a day have a greater risk of developing dyslipidaemia.

BY Dr Pramod Kumar

Sugar-coating does not yield good results; there is a new proof just in case you did not believe it yet. Drinks filled with sugar can increase the risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases. The number one cause of death worldwide is none other than cardiovascular diseases, and it is increasing its reach to all age groups. The most important reasons have been physical inactivity, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet, elevated levels of blood sugar and cholesterol.

The adults who consume at least one sugary beverage a day have a greater risk of developing dyslipidaemia, which increases the risk of heart diseases, in comparison to those who do not. Sources that contribute to maximum levels of added sugar include sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks. Food items like ready-to-eat cereals, cakes, ice creams also contain sugar. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, revealed that a sugar-laden diet might increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases even if the person is not overweight.

Consuming sugar in excess amounts results in weight gain by fooling the body to turn off the appetite-control system, as calories from solid foods are more fulfilling than the ones derived from liquid ones. However, the delivery of “empty calories” (calories that are unaccompanied by other nutrients, vitamins, fibre, and minerals) stimulate the liver to push more harmful fats into the bloodstream. It has been evident that people who consume diets with high sugar content have abnormal carbohydrate metabolism as well as abnormal blood sugar levels.

Insulin resistance and metabolism of glucose can predict future cardiovascular risk. Hyperinsulinemia acts like an independent risk factor for CHD. Insulin has been identified to stimulate proliferation of smooth muscle cells and increase lipogenesis while imbalance of metabolism of glucose is a result of Insulin resistance. Increased levels of insulin and insulin resistance have been found in diseases like obesity, hypertension, and coronary artery disease. Chronic hyperglycaemia (due to imbalance in glucose metabolism) causes cell damage due to inflammatory response triggered by oxidative stress. This jointly works with endothelial dysfunction, which is also associated with aberrant insulin signalling, to contribute in atherosclerotic plaque formation.

Henceforth, factors that promote insulin resistance or worsen glucose tolerance are most likely to raise the risk of mortality related to cardiovascular disease and acute MI, states the doctor.

Studies that have compared cardiovascular health and mortality have mentioned that a diet containing 25 percent or more calories from added sugars nearly triples the risk of mortality, than a diet offering less than 10 per cent calories.

“New research finds that sugar-laden drinks can increase cholesterol levels, and also reduce amount of HDL (good) cholesterol in our bodies.” We need no more proofs to settle with the fact that sugary drinks should be avoided, whenever possible. Small lifestyle choices can reflect on one’s health in the longer run.

 

The columnist is Director & HOD, Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh. Views expressed are the author’s own.

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