Sugary drinks have long been linked to a wider waist line. But new research suggests drinking as little as two sweetened beverages a day may also raise women’s risk for diabetes and high cholesterol.
Researchers from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center followed more than 4,000 men and women ages 45 to 84 over a five-year span and monitored their sugar-sweetened beverage intake along with weight, waist circumference, cholesterol and diabetes markers.
Women who drank two or more sugary drink a day, such as soda or flavored water, were four times more likely to develop high cholesterol and diabetes, and become obese, compared to women who drank one or less sugared drinks a day, according to the findings that will be presented Wednesday at the American Heart Association annual meeting in Orlando.
Even those who didn’t gain weight were likely to develop heart disease and diabetes, suggesting weight gain is not necessarily a precursor to health problems associated with the drinks.
The same results were not seen in men, and the researchers hypothesized this was because, overall, women need fewer calories than men to develop negative impacts from sugary drinks.