1 Daily Soda May Boost Heart Disease
Researchers Point Finger at Diet, Regular Sodas; Industry Officials Disagree
July 23, 2007 -- People who drank soda every day -- even diet soda -- in a
recent study were more likely to develop risk factors for heart disease.
That is because a soda habit increases the risk of developing a condition
called metabolic syndrome, according to the new research, and that in turn
boosts the chance of getting both heart disease and diabetes.
"Even one soda per day increases your risk of developing metabolic
syndrome by about 50%," says Ramachandran Vasan, MD, professor of medicine
at Boston University School of Medicine and the senior author of the study,
published in the July 31 issue of the American Heart Association's journal
But other experts, including the American Heart Association, say heart
disease has many risk factors and there's not enough evidence to directly blame
To be diagnosed with
metabolic syndrome, three of five criteria must be met: a large waistline,
elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar, elevated fasting
triglycerides, or reduced HDL or "good" cholesterol.
"This study adds to the wealth of scientific evidence that
sugar-sweetened beverages increase the risk of metabolic syndrome," says
Vasan. Already, he says, the rise in sugary drink consumption has been
linked to the epidemic of obesity and diabetes among children and teens and to
the development of high blood pressure in adults.
Soda-Heart Disease Link Questioned
The food and beverage industry takes issue with the finding.
Roger Clemens, DrPH, a spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists,
calls the study findings "oversimplified."
"There are many attributes associated with the development of metabolic
syndrome," Clemens tells WebMD. "Some of which are part of lifestyle
choices, such as eating too many calories." Diet soda is a more appropriate
choice than regular soda, he says.
"It's way too soon to say stop drinking diet soda," says Clemens, a
professor of molecular toxicology at the University of Southern California
School of Pharmacy, Los Angeles, who is familiar with the new research.
"Diet soda, in moderation, can be part of a healthy lifestyle."
Vasan and his colleagues evaluated about 3,500 men and women participating
in the Framingham Offspring Study. The offspring study began in 1971, following
the original Framingham Heart Study launched in 1948. The offspring study
included 5,124 people in all.
The questions about soda and other dietary habits were asked at three
different exam periods, from 1987 to 1991, 1991 to 1995, and 1995 to 1998. The
average age of those who answered questions about their soft drink intake and
other health habits was 53 during the three exam periods, Vasan says.
At the first exam period, those who drank one or more soft drinks daily had
a 48% increased prevalence of having metabolic syndrome compared with those who
drank less than one a day, the researchers found.