There is still no definite scientific explanation as to why soft drink consumption appears to contribute to metabolic syndrome. It is a good bet that you can improve your health by replacing soft drinks with more healthy beverages.
Metabolic syndrome occurs when three or more of these conditions are present in an individual at the same time:
- · High blood pressure
- · High blood sugar levels
- · High levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in your blood
- · Low levels of HDL, the good cholesterol, in your blood
- · Too much fat around your waist.
The medical community is still avidly debating the definition and causes of metabolic syndrome. There is strong evidence the cause may be insulin resistance, a hallmark of pre-diabetes and diabetes. Regardless of the debates, when metabolic syndrome starts to set in, the danger of developing heart disease and diabetes increases dramatically.
An article published in the medical journal Circulation showed that a group of patients participating in a four year study displayed a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome if they consumed soft drinks. Drinking more than one soft drink daily—whether it's regular or diet—appeared to increase the onset of metabolic syndrome.
"We were struck by the fact that it didn't matter whether it was a diet or regular soda that participants consumed, the association with increased risk was present," said Ramachandran Vasan, M.D., senior author of the Framingham Heart Study and professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. "In those who drink one or more soft drinks daily, there was an association of an increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome."
Prior studies linked soft drink consumption to multiple risk factors for heart disease. However, this study showed that association not only included drinking regular calorie-laden soft drinks, but artificially sweetened diet sodas as well, researchers said.
The Framingham study included nearly 9,000 person observations made in middle-aged men and women over four years at three different times.
In a "snapshot in time" at baseline, the researchers found that individuals consuming one or more soft drinks a day had a 48 percent increased prevalence of the metabolic syndrome compared to those consuming less than one soft drink daily.
The researchers also observed that compared to participants who drank less than one soft drink daily, those who drank one or more soft drinks a day had a: 31 percent greater risk of developing new-onset obesity (defined as a body mass index [BMI] of 30 kilograms/meter2 or more); 30 percent increased risk of developing increased waist circumference; 25 percent increased risk of developing high blood triglycerides or high fasting blood glucose; 32 percent higher risk of having low HDL levels. A trend towards an increased risk of developing high blood pressure that was not statistically significant.
There is still no definite scientific explanation as to why soft drink consumption appears to contribute to metabolic syndrome, however, it is a good bet that you can improve your health by replacing soft drinks with more healthy beverages. The challenge is finding a healthy beverage, besides water, that quenches your thirst and excites your taste buds.