If you are fond of sweet and sugary drinks and consume them on a regular basis, you may want to think again. Sugary drinks are not only bad for your weight, but also for your heart, a latest study reveals.These drinks may be linked to lipid imbalance, which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The study was published in Journal of the American Heart Association.

Consuming 12 ounces of sugary drinks more than once a day could be linked to lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and higher triglycerides in the middle-aged and older people. Both of these reportedly raise the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Many previous studies have also linked added sugar to an increase in CVDs risks.

“The research reinforces our understanding of the potential negative impact of sugary drinks on blood cholesterol, which increases heart disease risks,” said study researcher Eduardo Sanchez from the American Heart Association in the US.

It’s one more reason for us to cut back on soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, Sanchez added. Dyslipidemia could be one possible pathway through which sugary drinks may increase CVDs risks.

Researchers studied observational medical data of 5,924 people from the Offspring and Generation 3 cohorts of the Framingham Heart Study, who were followed for 12.5 years between 1991 and 2014. Through the data, they tried to determine the impact of sugary drinks on triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

The beverages were defined as 12 ounces of sugary drinks, like soda, fruit-flavoured drinks, sports drinks, pre-sweetened coffee and tea; 12 ounces of low-calorie sweetened beverages, including naturally and artificially sweetened ‘diet’ soda or other flavoured drinks; or 8 ounces of 100 per cent fruit juices with no added sugar.¬†

For four years, researchers analysed how the different drinks and their consumption correlated with changes in cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

The findings revealed that intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (more than 12 ounces a day) was linked with 53 per cent higher incidence of high triglycerides and 98 per cent higher incidence of low HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) compared with those who consumed less than one serving a month.

Interestingly, consuming low-calorie sweetened beverages didn’t appear to be linked with increased dyslipidemia risk among people who regularly had low-calorie sweetened drinks.

Up to 12 ounces of 100 per cent fruit juice a day was not associated with adverse changes in cholesterol or dyslipidemia, the study revealed. However, one requires further findings to warrant the study.

“Reducing or eliminating sugary drink consumption may be one strategy that could help people keep their triglyceride and HDL cholesterol at healthier levels,” said lead study author Nicola McKeown from Tufts University in the US.

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