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

its of nearly 4,200 women and men aged 45 to 84 from various ethnic groups via questionnaires. None of the participants had heart disease when the study began in 2002. The researchers measured weight gain, waist circumference, cholesterol levels, triglycerides and glucose (blood sugar) during three follow-up exams conducted over a five-year span. They also looked to see who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during this time frame.

Women who drank more than two sugary drinks a day had more risks for heart disease and diabetes than women who drank less than one soda or sweetened beverage each day -- even in the absence of weight gain.

The same findings were not seen among men. There's no consensus on why sugar-sweetened beverages did not affect men in the same way, but it may be that women require less energy for metabolism than men, Shay said. "They have smaller bodies, less muscle mass and need fewer calories than men," she said, adding that a 130-calorie soda accounts for a bigger chunk of a woman's daily energy than it does for men. "It is possible that men need more sodas to see an effect," she said.

The bottom line is that cutting back on sugar-sweetened beverages is an easy way to improve health, said Dr. Stacey Rosen, the associate chairman of cardiology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

"Our soda habit is something we have total control over," Rosen said. "There are a lot of things that keep us healthy that are hard work and difficult, but cutting back on sweetened drinks isn't one of them. We are not talking about doing an hour of exercise or buying expensive organic foods."

"Simple dietary choices can have a critical role in determining risk for cardiovascular disease," she added. "And remember -- women often make food choices for their entire family, so the impact of this may be more widespread.

In the vitamin C study, people with heart failure who had low levels of vitamin C were 2.4 ti
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