Sugary Drinks May Pose Heart Risks To Women

You could be at increased risk -- even if sweetened drinks don't make you fat.
Do you have a sweet tooth for sugary drinks? That sweet satisfaction could be hurting your heart health -- even if it's not making you fat.

Drinking two or more sugar-sweetened beverages a day may raise a woman's risk for developing heart disease and diabetes, a new study says. And it doesn't matter whether the sugar comes from soda, flavored waters, sweet tea, or your favorite frappuccino, "these drinks may be influencing heart disease risk factors even if people don't gain weight," says Christina Shay, Ph.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City.

Women who drank two or more sugary beverages a day were nearly four times as likely to have high levels of dangerous blood fats called triglycerides and were also more likely to develop signs of prediabetes, when compared with women who drank less than one sugar-sweetened beverage a day.

What's more, they also had more belly fat. "Women who drank more than two sugar-sweetened drinks a day had increasing waist sizes, but weren't necessarily gaining weight," Shay explains. Belly or visceral fat is bad news because it is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke.

The same findings were not observed in men. Shay believes women may have a greater chance for developing cardiovascular disease risk factors from sugar-sweetened drinks because they require fewer calories than men which makes each calorie count more towards cardiovascular risk in women.

The good news is, it's never too late to cut back on sugary drinks. Check out these tips to kick the soda habit.

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