Drinking soda every day damages arteries

A new study involving 120,000 people shows that the sugar in sodas increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and therefore of dying prematurely.

Drinking soda every day damages arteries
Nutrition - Drinking Soda effect

Soft drinks, industrial iced teas, syrups… Are sugary drinks a public health problem? This shows a study published on March 18 in the scientific journal Circulation, which concludes that they pose an additional risk of premature death. The study's authors followed nearly 120,000 Americans for 30 years. Heavy drinkers (more than two cans per day) have a 21% increased risk of dying sooner than people who do not drink sugary drinks at all.

Such a link had already been highlighted by a study published in 2015. This new work provides additional important information: the greater the consumption of sugary drinks, the greater the risk of dying prematurely (+ 1% for less (one soda per week, + 6% for less than one soda per day, + 14% for one or two soda per day, and + 21% for more than 2 soda per day).

The study shows that these deaths are mainly due to cardiovascular diseases (heart attack, stroke, etc.), with a 31% increase in the risk of developing one for those who consume at least two cans per day. And each additional can carries a 10% increased risk penalty! The researchers took into account a multitude of factors, such as smoking and diet. But according to them, this increased risk of mortality is attributable to sugary drinks alone.

What happens when you drink a soda?

The sugar in sodas affects our bodies in various ways. First, too much glucose (a form of sugar) in the blood damages the inner walls of the arteries, making them more fragile and more susceptible to the build-up of cholesterol. The latter penetrates there and promotes the formation of atheromatous plaques which will gradually clog the arteries, eventually causing a heart attack or cerebrovascular accident (stroke). When this excess of sugar in the blood becomes frequent, the entire metabolism is disturbed, resulting in weight gain, hypertension, or even type 2 diabetes. These are all factors that increase the risk of dementia. '' have cardiovascular disease.

Are sodas worse than cakes?

Why are sugary drinks more incriminated than other foods? "Sodas, fruit juices containing added sugars or iced teas are the primary source of pure sugar in our diet," explains Guillaume Walther, cardiovascular disease specialist at the University of Avignon. "In these drinks, there is no dietary fiber, and it is these that help slow the rate of absorption of sugar in the blood. This is therefore absorbed immediately, which raises the blood sugar in the blood more significantly than a cake with the same amount of sugar. "

Once in our blood, sugar begins its destructive work. This is what Guillaume Walther and his team discovered during a study published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology in 2017. “Our arteries have an innate capacity to adapt their diameter according to needs. in blood from our organs, but a can of soda is enough to temporarily disrupt this expansion capacity, ”explains the researcher. "Even in young and healthy people, we observe this dysfunction." Clearly, an overdose of sugar, even occasionally, puts our arteries in difficulty.

"Normally, the cells that line our arteries produce nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator, that is to say, it causes the blood vessels to widen", explains Cyril Reboul, researcher and co-author of the study. with Guillaume Walther. "But the rapid rise in blood sugar caused by a sugary drink leads to a decrease in the production of nitric oxide and therefore a decrease in the ability of blood vessels to dilate," he says. "In addition, this hyperglycemia promotes oxidative stress, a chemical phenomenon harmful to cells."

According to the researchers, this transient effect could become chronic if the consumption of sugary drinks is regular, significantly damaging the condition of the arteries and increasing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease over time. According to the latest nutritional recommendations from the National Food Safety Agency (ANSES), it is better not to drink more than one sweet drink per day. An amount that is already excessive according to these studies.

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