Sugary Drinks Have a Gender Bias
The health risk women take when indulging in sweet beverages.
Women who drink sugary beverages every day may be increasing their risk for heart disease. That’s what a five-year study presented by the American Heart Association shows. But what makes this finding different from others is the gender bias sweet drinks seem to have on a woman’s health.
It doesn’t matter what a woman prefers: sweet tea, soda or dessert-like coffee drinks; if you have two or more a day, you are putting your heart health in jeopardy. Even if you don’t gain weight, you are still at risk. In fact, when researchers looked at women over five years in the study, they found that even slim women who maintained their weight over the duration of the study were at higher risk for heart disease.
There are many risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity are few. But in this cause, researchers found that women with a sugary drinking habit developed high levels of triglycerides, which is a bad type of fat. Men, on the other hand, did not develop high levels of triglycerides.
In addition to heart disease, women who reach for sweet drinks are more likely to develop abnormal levels of fasting glucose, which can be a precursor to developing diabetes. Health experts explain that when you have a sweet beverage, glucose (or sugar) rushes into your system. Over time, the body loses the ability to use the hormone insulin to regulate your blood sugar. That extra sugar remains in your blood. Cardiologists say high sugar levels increase triglycerides, lower good cholesterol, and raise levels of inflammation which is another heart disease risk factor.
When looking at why women are at higher risk, researchers believe it might have to do with the age of the women in the study. Many were middle aged and older, and reached a point in their lives when it may have been more difficult to keep weight off their mid-section. Fat around your organs makes the body produce hormones that set you up for diabetes, high blood pressure and higher triglycerides.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 26.8 million Americans have heart disease. It ranks as the nation's number one killer. Additionally, the California Department of Public Health reports that the average American drinks 50 gallons of sweetened beverages a year.
The take-away message from the study seems to be women might want to be careful with a soda habit. And because women have smaller frames then men, and therefore need to be diligent about calorie restriction.