For the past several years, the leading cause of death among Americans has been heart disease. In 2006, for instance, according to the CDC, nearly 655,000 deaths were directly attributable to the silent killer—100,000 more than the second leading cause of death, cancer.
In light of these startling statistics, we health conscious folk try and make changes in our personal habits, as well as our family’s. We eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, exercise more often and drink fewer calories, opting for the diet soda over the regular. But according to a new study published in the July 31st issue of the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, any soda—including diet—increases the risk of heart disease by contributing to the likelihood of getting what’s called metabolic syndrome, as reported in WebMD and elsewhere.
Now, metabolic syndrome isn’t the kind of syndrome you’re used to hearing about, the kind where certain symptoms indicate a specific problem. Rather, metabolic syndrome is the combination of several high risk parts that comprise the high risk whole. For instance, for those who have at least three health risk factors—i.e. high blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, excess fat around the waist, low levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind of cholesterol) and high triglyceride levels—is an indicator of metabolic syndrome, which in turn increases the risk of getting heart disease.
The way in which researchers determined soda was linked to heart disease was through a lengthy study, beginning in 1971, and was more or less the continuation of a study that originated in 1948. The study titled “Framingham Offspring Study” (i.e. the offspring of the original Framingham Study) surveyed and examined nearly 5,200 men and women, breaking them into groups, and specifically analyzing what effect, if any, their soft drink intake had over the course of four years each group studied in different four-year periods than the previous one. Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine came back with some truly startling results: Drinking soda increased the likelihood of getting heart disease, as the risk of metabolic syndrome was 48 percent higher among those who drank soda with more regularity than those who drank it sparingly. Further, the risk of heart disease increased with each additional soda drink per day by 44 percent!
Now it does need to be mentioned that soda in and of itself does not necessarily “cause” heart disease. It does appear, however, to be a harbinger of getting heart disease, as the study showed that those who drank diet sodas regularly also dabbled in other unhealthy habits like eating fried foods, smoking, exercising sparingly and eating more at the next meal as the artificial sweetness of soda often causes one to eat more at the next meal. As Ramachandran Vasan, MD says about the study, one of the doctors that conducted the study and the lead author of the study published in Circulation, “We cannot rule out that consumption of soda is a marker of risk…rather than a true risk factor.”
Not surprisingly, the soda industry has strongly derided the doctors’ findings, telling WebMD’s Kathleen Doheny that linking heart disease with diet soda is “implausible,” and “defying common sense” in a press release.
Vasan himself says more study is needed before indicating a causal link between diet soda and heart disease. But with the prevalence of heart disease and obesity as high as they’ve ever been, the myriad of studies that link obesity with soda consumption, the documented health risks of aspartame, and the recent determination by Johns Hopkins University that 75 percent of the country will be obese by 2015, how much more evidence do we need?
Sources: http://www.naturalnews.com/022143.htmlAbout the author
Frank Mangano is a consumer health advocate and natural health writer who has authored and published hundreds of articles pertaining to natural health. He's the author of three books and teaches you how to dramatically improve your health naturally, without expensive and potentially dangerous prescription drugs. Frank is an independent researcher and has absolutely no financial ties to any pharmaceutical drug company or supplement company.
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