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Drinking Sugary Beverages for 2 Weeks Can Boost Risk for Heart Disease

Study finds increases sensitivity to high consumption of high-fructose corn syrup regardless of quantity…

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Researchers placed 85 participants, including men and women ranging in age from 18 to 40 years, in four different groups. Over 15 days, they consumed beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup equivalent to 0 percent, 10 percent, 17.5 percent or 25 percent of their total daily calorie requirements.

The 0-percent control group was given a sugar-free beverage sweetened with aspartame, an artificial sweetener.

At the beginning and end of the study, researchers used hourly blood draws to monitor the changes in the levels of lipoproteins, triglycerides and uric acid — all known to be indicators of cardiovascular disease risk.

These risk factors increased as the dose of high-fructose corn syrup increased. Even the participants who consumed the 10-percent dose exhibited increased circulating concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride compared with their concentrations at the beginning of the study.

After the 15-day study, researchers found those who consumed high fructose corn syrup had higher levels of lipoproteins, triglycerides and uric acid, all known risk factors for heart disease. The risk factors increased as the dose of corn syrup increased, researchers said.

"These findings clearly indicate that humans are acutely sensitive to the harmful effects of excess dietary sugar over a broad range of consumption levels," study lead author Kimber Stanhope said in a statement.

Men reportedly had higher increases in the risk factors than women, regardless of whether the person gained weight or not.

Practice Pearls:

  • Participants drank varying levels of added sugar.
  • Increased risk greater in men than women.
  • Humans are acutely sensitive to the harmful effects of excess dietary sugar over a broad range of consumption levels.

The study will be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition May 2015