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Two sodas a day DOUBLE the risk of heart disease, study warns

The sun is bearing down on you so strongly on a hot summer day that you just have to quench your thirst. You’ve been running around that oval track for so long you can’t wait to reach out for something to drink.

But let that drink be filtered water, and other healthier alternatives, not soda.

Scientists presenting a research paper at the American Heart Association‘s Epidemiology and Prevention / Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018, a top global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science, said people over 45 who drink a lot of sugary beverages including sodas, fruit drinks and juices are more at risk of dying from heart disease, than those who shun sugary drinks.

Study participants who took at least 24 ounces of sugary drinks per day (or around two cans of soda), doubled their risk of dying from coronary heart disease compared to those who took less than an ounce of sugary beverages. Scientists also noted a higher risk of death from all causes.

Researchers based their methodology on data from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, a U.S.-based longitudinal research of 30,183 black and white adults over 45. The researchers came up with a sugary-food-and-beverage-consumption profile of 17,930 study participants using a food frequency questionnaire. Sugar-sweetened beverages included pre-sweetened ones like sodas and fruit drinks. Sugar-sweetened foods included desserts, candy, and sweetened breakfast foods plus those with calorie-containing sweeteners.

The scientists studied the participants for around six years. Researchers checked the cause of death, and focused on those due to heart disease.

Welsh said that sweetened drinks release a “flood of sugars” that must be metabolized in the body. Sugary foods, on the other hand, often have other nutrients like fats or proteins which slow down metabolism. (Related: Combining sugary drinks with protein found to accelerate the body’s storage of fat.)

She added that the study’s findings should persuade healthcare providers to ask patients about sugary drink consumption as a tool for reducing risks to health.

There are many alternatives to destructive sodas. Here are some:

  • Naturally flavored water — Commercially-available flavored waters are everywhere, but most of them have sugar or artificial sweeteners. Make your own flavored water. Slice your favorite fruits and greens like lemons, oranges, watermelon, cucumber, mint, or limes, and drop them into a pitcher of ice-cold water. You can also chop the fruit, drop them in an ice cube tray, add water, and freeze. Put these colorful fruit cubes in your water and enjoy a great-tasting, refreshing drink.
  • Green tea — Studies suggest that green tea may help lower the risk of several kinds of cancer, heart ailments, obesity, kidney stones, and even cavities. Green tea has no calories and are packed with antioxidants. You can have your green tea hot or iced, and add a little honey if you want it sweet.
  • Vegetable juice — This has less sugar than those made from fruits. You can make your own veggie juice at home. You don’t need to chop the greens. Just add them, along with a few fruit slices to taste, into your drink. Black pepper and a drop of hot sauce can give your healthy drink a little kick.

You don’t have to drown yourself in soda at the expense of your heart.  These soda alternatives will not only quench your thirst and give you energy. It will also keep your heart healthy and strong.

Sources include:

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