Women who drink one or more sugary beverages a day are more than 20 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, warn researchers.
Compared to women who never consume sugary drinks -- like soft drinks, sweetened bottled waters, or teas and fruit drinks with added sugar -- those who had one or more per day were at 26 per cent higher risk for a revascularization procedure or angioplasty to open clogged arteries.
The study, published in the JAHA: Journal of the American Heart Association, also found that who drink one or more sugary beverages Women who drink were at 21 per cent higher risk of suffering a stroke "We hypothesize that sugar may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases in several ways. It raises glucose levels and insulin concentrations in the blood, which may increase appetite and lead to obesity, a major risk factor for heart disease," said study lead author Cheryl Anderson from University of California San Diego in the US.
The study included more than 106,000 women, with an average age of 52, who had not been diagnosed with heart disease, stroke or diabetes when they enrolled in the study.
The women reported how much and what they drank via a food questionnaire.
Statewide inpatient hospitalization records were used to determine whether a woman had experienced a heart attack, stroke or surgery to open clogged arteries.
Women with the highest sugar-sweetened beverage intake were younger, more likely to be current smokers, obese and less likely to eat healthy foods, among other things.
There were also differences based on the type of beverage women consumed.
Drinking one or more sugar-added fruit drinks daily was associated with a 42 per cent greater likelihood of having cardiovascular disease.
The findings showed that drinking soft drinks such as sodas daily was associated with a 23 per cent higher risk of cardiovascular disease overall, compared to those who rarely or never drank sugary beverages.
"Too much sugar in the blood is associated with oxidative stress and inflammation, insulin resistance, unhealthy cholesterol profiles and type 2 diabetes, conditions that are strongly linked to the development of atherosclerosis, the slow narrowing of the arteries that underlies most cardiovascular disease," said Anderson.