According to a recent study, sweetened fruit juices, soda and other sugary drinks may fuel visceral fat, or the fat that coats internal organs including the liver, kidney, and pancreas. Visceral fat, also known as ‘deep’ fat, has been often tied to high risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease by past research.
The new research involved 1,000 participants who were monitored for about six years. Researchers learned that those who drank sugary beverages on a daily basis were more prone to develop visceral fat. This kind of fat meddles with hormone function and insulin resistance, boosting the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Past studies found other risks in sugary drinks including the risk of heart disease and stroke. Dr. Caroline Fox, senior researcher involved in the study, recommend people to abide by the official dietary guidelines and keep a close watch on how much added sugar their drinks contain.
During the study, 1,003 volunteers answered a series of questions about sugar and sugary drink consumption. Researchers explained that sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugar in Americans’ diets.
Participants also agreed to undergo CT scans at the start of the study and near its completion to provide researchers with the necessary info on their deep fat. The results were later adjusted for other factors that can fuel deep fat including sex, age, BMI, and level of physical activity.
The data revealed that people who only occasionally drank sugary drinks or did not drink them at all had the lowest levels of body fat – 40 cubic inches on average – at the end of the 6-year period. People who drank the beverages only several times a week, but not on a daily basis, gained 43 cubic inches, while participants who drank sweetened beverages every day gained 52 cubic inches.
Researchers also found that men tended to drink more sugary drinks than women especially if they were also younger, smokers, and more physically active. Surprisingly, diet soda did not boost levels of deep fat. The team thinks that it may have something to do with the low-calorie content of diet products.
But the study also showed that diet soda fans were less likely to be physically active, displayed a higher BMI and had an increased risk of developing diabetes than people who did not enjoy diet drinks.
According to the American Heart Association’s guidelines, women should not take over 100 daily calories from foods containing added sugars, while men should restrict their daily calorie intake from added sugars to 150.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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