In episode 63 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses:
As talked about in the past, sugary foods and carbohydrates with high sugar content, increase your risk for obesity and chronic illness. A recent study just released, however, unmasked a significant correlation between sweetened beverages and the risk for heart disease and premature death. Presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Disease Prevention Conference was a study that evaluated over 17,000 people over the age of 45, including both men and women.
It is important to understand that a correlation between sweetened beverages and an increase in premature death and heart disease exists, and to consider cutting back on your sugary drinks. DR. CHAD LARSON
The researchers evaluated the consumption of sweetened beverages, including juices and soda or anything that contained sugar, and separated the participants into two different groups. They sectioned off the upper 25% of those who had the highest amount of sugar consumption, which included those who consumed more than 24 ounces of a sweetened beverage per day. They then compared that group to the lower 25% of those who consumed about one or fewer ounces of sugar a day. What they found was that those in the upper 25% were more at risk for both heart disease and premature death.
More interestingly, they sectioned off those who consumed their sugar calories from food from those who primarily drank their sugar calories through sweetened beverages. Researchers found that those who had the most consumption of sugar coming from beverages had an increased risk of heart disease and premature death over those who consumed the majority of their sugar calories from foods.
Although just a hypothesis, researchers believed that it might be that the nutrients in the sugar-laden foods were enough to decrease the harmful nature of sugar. Therefore, although those who ate foods that were high in sugar content still were at risk for obesity and chronic illnesses that come from being obese, they had a lower risk of heart disease and premature death.
Even though researchers were unable to show that there was a cause and effect relationship, they effectively showed that there was a correlation between high sugary beverage consumption and a person’s risk for heart disease and premature death. It is likely that the sugar in the beverages leads to chronic inflammation and immune dysregulation, but there was no direct evidence of causation.
So, if you are someone who drinks a lot of sweetened beverages or you know someone in your life who does, it is important to understand that a correlation between sweetened beverages and an increase in premature death and heart disease exists, and to consider cutting back on your sugary drinks.