A study by Tufts’ researchers recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages may contribute to the development of dyslipidemia—an important risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke. The observational study, which examined medical data of nearly 6,000 people who were followed for an average of 12.5 years, found that consuming more than 12 ounces per day of sugar-sweetened beverages (the equivalent of one can of soda) was associated with higher blood triglyceride and lower HDL (good) cholesterol concentrations compared to drinking less than one 12-ounce serving per month. Sugar-sweetened beverages included sodas, fruit-flavored drinks, sports drinks, and presweetened coffees and teas.
These results add further support to recommendations to limit sugar-sweetened beverage intake and suggest that dyslipidemia may be one reason sugary drink intake has been associated with higher cardiovascular disease risk. Although in this study 100 percent fruit juice intake (up to 12 ounces per day) was not associated with dyslipidemia it is important to remember juice does add calories to overall dietary intake.
No associations were identified with consumption of artificially sweetened (“diet”) drinks and dyslipidemia. Water, milk, and unsweetened teas, coffees, plant milks, and seltzers are the best choices. If you miss the fizz of soda, try a splash of fruit juice or some fruit slices in seltzer.