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Sugared Beverages Increase Metabolic Syndrome Risk

Sugar Pouring From Soda Can

​More than 75 billion dollars worth of soda is purchased yearly. Sugar-sweetened drinks not only drain the pockets of millions of Americans, but these beverages are a drain on the health of the nation as well. Heavy consumption of sugary beverages, such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, vitamin water drinks, and energy drinks, has been linked to a long list chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, gout, tooth decay, non-alcoholic liver disease, heart disease, as well as metabolic syndrome.

The findings of a 2010 study revealed that individuals who regularly consumed sugared beverages had higher chances of developing metabolic syndrome than persons who drank lower quantities of sugar-sweetened drinks. Metabolic syndrome is the term used to describe a group of risk factors that increase an individual's chances of developing stroke, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the risk factors for metabolic syndrome include abdominal obesity (large waistline), high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, high fasting blood sugar levels, and low levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

For a person to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, he or she must have at least 3 of these risk factors. The more risk factors for metabolic syndrome a person has, the higher the person's chances of developing diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Evidence from several studies has shown that obesity and lack of exercise contribute significantly to the development of metabolic syndrome.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2006 found a positive association between regular intake of sugary beverages and weight gain. Sugar-sweetened beverages are packed with large quantities of energy-containing nutrient-deficient sweeteners, such as sucrose, high fructose-corn syrup, and fruit juice concentrates. A 20 fluid ounce bottle of soda can have 325 calories. Over-consumption of calories causes weight gain, and regular consumption of sugared beverages provide excess calories which are stored in the body as fat. Consuming one can of sugared drink every day can translate to about eight pounds of weight gain a year. High intake of sugary beverages promotes weight gain and obesity that are associated with increased risk of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is becoming increasingly common. The National Institute of Health has predicted that metabolic syndrome may soon overtake smoking as the number one cause of heart disease in the United States. The good news is that it is possible to prevent metabolic syndrome by adopting some simple lifestyle and dietary changes. Strict adherence to a dietary pattern characterized by the consumption of healthy unprocessed foods such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables and the avoidance of foods, such as sugared beverages, processed meats, refined grains, oils, and saturated fats, can greatly reduce an individual's risk of developing metabolic syndrome and subsequently stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. One way to drain the coffers of the processed food industry is by no longer consuming these sweetened beverages. 

Additional Information:

(1) 31 Significant Soda Consumption Statistics

(2) How Is Metabolic Syndrome Diagnosed?

(3) Sugared-Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes Risk

(4) Intake of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain: a Systematic Review

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