We all know that sugar isn’t good for us. We’ve been told that since we were kids. But just like many things we were told were bad when we were kids, we seem to do just the opposite now that we’re adults, despite evidence that proves it’s not good for us. In an attempt to look into how a certain type of drink actually affects us over time, a group of scientists revealed that fizzy sugary drinks lead to health complications.
- Sugar enriched beverages are linked to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests limiting added sugar to less than 10% of our daily caloric intake
- The study focused on measuring the levels of visceral adipose tissue, or belly fat
- Those drinking at least one sugar drink a day reported a 27% increase in their visceral adipose tissue over 6 years
- Diet soda was tied to less physical activity, diabetes, and an increased body mass index
The study authors, led by Dr. Caroline Fox from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Framingham Heart Study and Population Sciences Branch, looked at a sample of 1,003 participants and analyzed the relationship between the type of drink of their choice and their abdominal adipose tissue.
The average age of the participants was 45.3, with 55% males and 45% females. Here are the dietary behaviors of the participants, at least regarding the drink of choice.
85% of the participants reported drinking both diet soda and sugar drinks, and 14 percent drinking neither. Sugar beverages were reported as being consumed daily by 13% of the subjects, frequently by 35%, occasionally by 20%, and a surprising 32% reported not drinking them at all.
The participants had measurements taken of their visceral adipose tissue, as well as their subcutaneous adipose tissue, and they were also subjected to a CT scan. The measurements and scans took place at the beginning of the study, and 6 years later.
Results were not at all surprising.
As expected, an increased sugary drink intake was associated with an overall increase in visceral adipose tissue volume, an increase that went as high as 27%.
Additionally, those reporting the largest consumption of sugar sweetened beverages were predominantly male, young, smokers, and more physically active. Despite this, they still reported a substantial increase in their visceral adipose tissue levels over the study’s 6 years.
The only part that came as a surprise was that despite diet soda not being associated with an increase in visceral adipose tissue levels, it was still linked to reduced physical activity, as well as to diabetes, and an increased body mass index.
Image source: Wikimedia