Researchers from the AHA avidly advise, again, to stop drinking sugary drinks to trim down belly fat, otherwise you might be at increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. It has been said numerous times, but it seems that consumption of sweetened beverages is still high. More importantly, there are more consequences than believed.
The American Heart Association (AHA) conducted a new study on over 1,000 adults in the U.S., measuring their visceral fat with aid of CT scans. Visceral fat, or belly fat, is particularly dangerous as it wraps around vital organs, such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines. It affects hormone function, and is believed to boost insulin resistance. This could effectively increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
Six years later, the same patients went through a follow-up exam, once again having their visceral fat measured. The participants were also asked on their habits of consuming sweetened beverages, often rich in sucrose or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The results showed that 13% of them consumed at least one such sugary beverage per day. Those daily consumers, be it man or woman, had around 27% more belly fat than those opting for healthier alternatives.
According to lead author of the study, Jiantao Ma from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, that doesn’t necessarily mean that sweetened beverages were the only culprit. There are numerous factors that could encourage weight gain. Obesity is certainly not caused by just one dietary habit. However, sugary beverages is a major one among them, and it can be very easily avoided.
For every sweetened drink, there is a healthier option with less calories.
The researchers stated that a 12 ounce can of soda contains around 132 calories from added sugar. It’s a fairly unhealthy amount that is often associated with obesity when repeated each day for years.
The overall purpose of the study was for a national call to attention for the population to lower their daily calorie intake to less than 10% from sugary beverages. For the first time, the guidelines focused solely on the unhealthy drinks.
Ma once again underlined the fact that they’re not the sole cause of obesity. Daily consumers of sweetened beverages were also more likely to exercise less, eat less vegetables, smoke, and generally maintain an unhealthy food pallet. However, by removing just one unpleasant dietary habit could help. Sodas could be the start. It could aid in trimming down belly fat, and decreasing the risk of serious health issues.
Researchers also noted that their findings were not the same in the case of the ‘diet’ options for sodas. While they present with their own slew of risks, they could not link diet variants with increased belly fat. However, Ma stated that it’s only because most people often consume those beverages because they already have diabetes or are overweight.
Image source: homemaderecipes.com