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The One Drink That's Worse for You Than Soda

You're going to want to avoid sipping on this type of beverage, no matter what.
Girl sipping soda

It's no secret that soda is one drink you should avoid whenever you can. Seriously, drinking anything else is typically a healthier option. But if you think sipping on fruit juice and iced teas is a safer bet, you might want to rethink what's on your shopping list.

A new study has just revealed that consuming sugary drinks is the true culprit, as it can lead to longterm health problems, specifically cardiovascular disease.

Why are sugary drinks so bad?

According to the Journal of the American Heart Association, the study conducted found that one daily serving of sugary drinks can significantly increase a person's risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

The ongoing study, which began in 1995, examined female California teachers who had not been diagnosed with heart disease, stroke, or diabetes when they first enrolled, and found that those who drank one or more sugary beverages daily had a 42 percent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to those who didn't or rarely drank these beverages. The participants who drank soft drinks (aka soda) daily had a 23 percent risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who didn't or rarely consumed soft drinks.

In the study, which spanned more than 20 years, sugary beverages included soft drinks, sweetened bottled waters or teas, and sugar-added, flavored fruit drinks. The women self-reported how much and what they drank in a food questionnaire and hospitalization records were looked at to determine if any of the women had experienced a heart attack, stroke, or surgery to open clogged arteries over the years.

"We hypothesize that sugar may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases in several ways," said lead author Cheryl Anderson, a professor of family and public health at the University of California San Diego. "It raises glucose levels and insulin concentrations in the blood, which may increase appetite and lead to obesity, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease."

The American Heart Association recommends women should consume no more than 100 calories per day of added sugar, or about 6 teaspoons, and men shouldn't have more than 150 calories per day of the sweet stuff, or about 9 teaspoons. Clearly, the point this study is trying to make is that downing sugary drinks every day is not the best bet, so you want to always read those labels to check for the amount of added sugars you're consuming.

What can you do instead when you want to drink something sweet? Well, it never hurts to sip on some water instead, which you can easily add fresh fruit to for that all-natural sweetness. If you're looking for more ideas about healthy foods and drinks to make at home, be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get daily recipes and food news in your inbox!

Jennifer Maldonado
Jennifer Maldonado is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and health content. Read more
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