Experts warn consumers that sugary drinks should be enjoyed only in moderation if at all. They have many negative health effects. The excess calories and sugar in them can lead to obesity and other health problems. Now, there’s also reason to believe that drinking sugary sodas and other beverages could also be bad for the heart.
How Sugary Beverages Affect the Heart
This latest study’s lead author was Nicola McKeown who is a nutrition epidemiologist. She works at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at the Tufts University in Boston. The idea that sugary beverages are harmful to the heart isn’t new to this study. Past studies have indicated that they increase the risk of heart disease. McKeown and her colleagues wanted to know how drinking sodas, fruit-flavored drinks, and sports drinks affected the body to raise the risk. They theorized that the drinks could cause heart problems because of a change in the balance of triglycerides and cholesterol.
To learn more, the researchers examined date from 6,000 participants who were followed for an average of 12.5 years. The participants were placed into one of five groups based on how often they drank certain beverages. The results of the study showed that people who drank 12 ounces or more of sugary drinks per day were 53 percent more likely to have high triglycerides and 98 percent more likely to have lower levels of good cholesterol.
In addition to finding that sugary drinks are associated with negative changes in triglyceride and cholesterol levels, they found that low-calorie sweetened beverages and 100 percent fruit juice did not raise the risk of heart disease.
Preventing Heart Disease
Based on this study as well as past studies, reducing or eliminating sugary beverages are a good way to help protect your aging relative’s heart health. Some other ways older adults can prevent heart disease are:
- Quit smoking.
- Exercise 30 to 60 minutes per day.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
- Manage high blood pressure.
- Reduce stress.
Homecare can assist older adults with protecting their heart health, too. Homecare providers can ensure your aging relative is eating heart healthy meals by cooking balanced meals for them. Homecare providers can also increase the amount of time the older adult spends physically active by involving them in things around the house, going for walks with them, or monitoring them while they exercise at home to make certain they stay safe.