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Study: Sugary drinks can boost women's heart disease risk

November 13, 2011|By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Two or more sugar-sweetened drinks a day have been linked, in a new study, to a larger waist and higher risk of heart disease in women.
Two or more sugar-sweetened drinks a day have been linked, in a new study,… (Los Angeles Times )


Two or more sugar-sweetened drinks a day have been associated with a larger waist and a higher risk of heart disease in adult women, according to research released Sunday.

Women ages 45 to 84 who drank at least two sugar-sweetened drinks a day -- such as soda or flavored waters with added sugar -- were nearly four times as likely to develop high triglycerides as women who drank one or fewer of those beverages.

Two or more sugar-sweetened drinks a day also were linked to bigger waist size and a higher risk for Type 2 diabetes.

These risks were higher even when the women were of normal weight. So it's not just obesity that is causing the increased risk of cardiovascular disease, said Christina Shay, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. The research was presented at the American Heart Assn.'s Scientific Sessions annual meeting, being held in Orlando, Fla.

"Most people assume that individuals who consume a lot of sugar-sweetened drinks have an increase in obesity, which in turn, increases their risk for heart disease and diabetes," Shay said. "Although this does occur, this study showed that risk factors for heart disease and stroke developed even when the women didn't gain weight."

The study included women from a wide range of ethnic groups. They were followed for five years.

Women who drink sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages pay a higher price than men because women require fewer calories than men per day. Calories from a couple of sodas add up fast.

Still unknown is how sugar-sweetened beverages cause triglycerides and diabetes risk to rise in women who don't gain weight.

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