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Sugar-Sweetened Drinks May Pose Heart Risks to Women, Study Suggests
Date:11/14/2011

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking two or more sugar-sweetened beverages a day may boost a woman's risk for developing heart disease and diabetes -- even if this habit isn't causing her to pack on extra pounds, a new study says.

Sugary sodas and other sweetened beverages are frequent targets in the war on obesity. Many efforts, such as taking these drinks out of vending machines in schools, are aimed at reducing exposure to these beverages and the empty calories they provide. However, the new study suggests that the risks posed by sugar-sweetened sodas and flavored waters may be independent of weight gain.

Middle-aged women who drank two or more sugary beverages a day were close to four times as likely to have high levels of dangerous blood fats called triglycerides and impaired blood sugar levels (known as "prediabetes'), when compared with women who drank less than one sugar-sweetened beverage a day.

What's more, women who drank two or more sodas a day also had more belly fat, but not necessarily more weight. Belly fat, or abdominal obesity, poses greater health risks than fat in other areas of the body because it lies deep inside and can produce hormones and other substances that negatively affect blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin production.

Add these perils together and you've got so-called metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

The study findings were presented Sunday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla.

A related study presented Sunday found that people with heart failure who have low levels of vitamin C fare worse than their counterparts who get enough vitamin C from foods.

In the beverage study, Christina Shay, an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and her colleagues assessed the drinking hab
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