Average Soda Fountain Serving in the U.S. Exceeds Daily Recommended Added Sugars

You’ll get more than a day’s worth of added sugars when you pour a soda fountain drink at most U.S. restaurant chains, a new report finds.

Even small-sized drinks exceed recommended guidelines, said researchers at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

For the study, CSPI researchers examined levels of added sugar in full-calorie soda fountain drinks at the top 20 restaurant chains by revenue.

The investigators found that small drinks averaged 65 grams of added sugar — more than the recommended daily limit of 50 grams (12 teaspoons) of added sugar, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Medium or regular drinks averaged 75 grams — that’s 1½ times the recommended limit. Large drinks, averaging 109 grams, had more than two days’ worth of added sugar.

The report suggests that state and local governments in the United States should require menus to include warning icons on items with high levels of added sugar.

“People are returning to restaurants and dining out more,” said Sarah Sorscher, deputy director of regulatory affairs for the CSPI.

“Sugar warnings would allow all of us to make more informed decisions about our own health by providing information on menus about the added sugars that are often hidden in restaurant foods and beverages,” she said in a center news release.

The researchers also found that even drinks sold as part of meal combinations usually had more than the recommended daily limit of added sugar. And half of kids’ drinks had more than 40 grams of added sugar.

Making it harder for consumers to manage their sugar intake, sugar content in the same size soda could vary threefold from restaurant chain to chain, according to the report.

Citing a New York City idea as a model, the researchers said a proposal there would require icons on menu items that exceed the 50-gram recommended daily limit for added sugar.

A new survey accompanying the report showed that three-quarters of New York State residents support having these warnings on menus.

The findings were released online by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Source: HealthDay

Sugary Drinks Negatively Impact these Two Risk Factors for Heart Disease

There’s no sugarcoating it: Having too many sweet drinks may be linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and older adults, according to new research.

Drinking 12 ounces of sugary beverages more than once a day may lower “good” cholesterol and increase triglycerides, fat in the blood that can lead to heart disease.

“Reducing the number of or eliminating sugary drink consumption may be one strategy that could help people keep their triglyceride and good cholesterol at healthier levels,” lead study author Nicola McKeown said in a news release. McKeown is a nutrition epidemiologist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.

Previous studies have shown added sugars increase heart disease risk. Beverages such as sodas, sports drinks and fruit-flavored drinks are the largest source of added sugar for Americans.

Researchers aimed to find out why and how these added sugars lead to heart disease. They hypothesized it could be a result of an unhealthy imbalance of cholesterol and triglyceride levels, a condition known as dyslipidemia that affects an estimated 40% to 50% of U.S. adults.

The observational study – published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association – examined medical data of nearly 6,000 people who were followed for an average of 12.5 years. Participants were classified into five groups according to how often they drank the different beverages, ranging from less than one serving per month to more than one serving per day.

The beverages were defined as: 12 ounces of sugary drinks, such as sodas, fruit-flavored drinks, sports drinks, and presweetened coffees and teas; 12 ounces of low-calorie sweetened beverages, including naturally and artificially sweetened “diet” sodas or other flavored drinks; or 8 ounces of 100% fruit juices, including orange, apple, grapefruit and other juices derived from whole fruits, with no added sugars.

Researchers found drinking more than 12 ounces per day of sugary beverages was associated with a 53% higher incidence of high triglycerides and a 98% higher incidence of low “good” cholesterol compared to those who drank less than 12 ounces per month.

Regularly drinking low-calorie sweetened beverages was not associated with increased dyslipidemia risk, nor was 100% fruit juice. However, researchers said more study is needed to back this finding.

“While our study didn’t find negative consequences on blood lipids from drinking low-calorie sweetened drinks, there may be health consequences of consuming these beverages on other risk factors,” McKeown said. “Water remains the preferred and healthiest beverage.”

Source: American Heart Association

Soda Tied to Higher Risk of Early Death

Serena Gordon wrote . . . . . . . . .

Whether you call it soda, pop or a soft drink, a new study’s findings suggest it would be better for your health to drink water instead.

The large European study found that people who have more than two sodas a day — with or without sugar — had a higher risk of dying over about 16 years than people who sipped the fizzy beverages less than once a month.

“We found that higher soft drink intake was associated with a greater risk of death from any cause regardless of whether sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened drinks were consumed,” said study senior author Neil Murphy. He’s a scientist with the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.

“Our results for sugar-sweetened soft drinks provide further support to limit consumption and to replace them with healthier beverages, preferably water,” Murphy said.

How might sodas raise your risk of dying?

Sugar-sweetened beverages may lead to weight gain and obesity. They also may affect the way the hormone insulin is used in the body, which can lead to inflammation, Murphy noted. All of these things can lead to health conditions that may shorten life.

He said more research is needed to understand how artificially sweetened soda might increase the risk of early death.

While it found an association, the current study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between soda and a higher risk of early death. It’s possible that soda drinkers have other habits that could add to their odds, such as smoking or a less healthy diet.

This study isn’t the first to find a connection between soda and bad health outcomes. Two recent studies — one from BMJ and the other in Circulation — linked drinking soda to cancer and deaths from heart disease.

The current research included more than 451,000 people from 10 European countries. Their average age was 51. Researchers followed the participants’ health for an average of 16 years.

In addition to a higher risk of dying from all causes for those who drank more than two sodas a day, more sodas were also linked to some specific causes of death.

  • People who had more than one soda daily — sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened — compared to fewer than one a month had a higher risk of dying from colon cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
  • People who had more than one sugar-sweetened soda a day compared to fewer than one a month had a higher risk of dying from digestive diseases.
  • People who had more than artificially sweetened soda a day compared to less than one a month had a higher risk of dying from circulatory diseases like heart disease.

Murphy said researchers tried to account for factors such as body mass index (an estimate of body fat based on height and weight) and smoking, and still found an association between drinking more soda and a higher risk of dying.

Representatives of the beverage and sweetener industries urged people not to overreact to the findings.

Low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners are “an important tool for weight management and those managing diabetes,” said Robert Rankin, president of the Calorie Control Council.

The council’s medical adviser, Dr. Keri Peterson, added: “The safety of low- and no-calorie sweeteners has been reaffirmed time and time again by leading regulatory and governmental agencies around the world.”

William Dermody Jr., a spokesman for the American Beverage Association, offered a similar view. “Soft drinks are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet and the authors of this study acknowledge their research does not indicate otherwise.”

But Dr. Maria Anton, an endocrinologist at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital, said excess consumption of soft drinks and other high-sugar and artificially sweetened beverages has become the norm for many people.

“These can contribute to weight gain and poor blood sugar control, worsening existing conditions like diabetes,” she pointed out.

Anton added that the findings suggest sugar is probably not the only unhealthy ingredient in soft drinks. “Patients in this study who regularly consumed sugar-free, artificially sweetened drinks were also at an increased risk of death,” she pointed out.

Registered dietitian Samantha Heller, from NYU Langone Health in New York City, said many factors may contribute to the link between soda consumption and risk of death. The bottom line, she said, is that people don’t need to drink soda.

“The consumption of beverages that taste sweet is fueled by marketing and advertising. There really is no need to consume them,” Heller said, suggesting suggested water, seltzer or tea instead.

The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Source: HealthDay


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Study Suggests Possible Link between Sugary Drinks and Cancer

A study published by The BMJ reports a possible association between higher consumption of sugary drinks and and an increased risk of cancer.

While cautious interpretation is needed, the findings add to a growing body of evidence indicating that limiting sugary drink consumption, together with taxation and marketing restrictions, might contribute to a reduction in cancer cases.

The consumption of sugary drinks has increased worldwide during the last few decades and is convincingly associated with the risk of obesity, which in turn is recognised as a strong risk factor for many cancers. But research on sugary drinks and the risk of cancer is still limited.

So a team of researchers based in France set out to assess the associations between the consumption of sugary drinks (sugar sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices), artificially sweetened (diet) beverages, and risk of overall cancer, as well as breast, prostate, and bowel (colorectal) cancers.

Their findings are based on 101,257 healthy French adults (21% men; 79% women) with an average age of 42 years at inclusion time from the NutriNet-Santé cohort study.

Participants completed at least two 24-hour online validated dietary questionnaires, designed to measure usual intake of 3,300 different food and beverage items and were followed up for a maximum of 9 years (2009-2018).

Daily consumption of sugary drinks (sugar sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices) and artificially sweetened (diet) beverages were calculated and first cases of cancer reported by participants were validated by medical records and linked with health insurance national databases.

Several well known risk factors for cancer, such as age, sex, educational level, family history of cancer, smoking status and physical activity levels, were taken into account.

Average daily consumption of sugary drinks was greater in men than in women (90.3 mL v 74.6 mL, respectively). During follow-up 2,193 first cases of cancer were diagnosed and validated (693 breast cancers, 291 prostate cancers, and 166 colorectal cancers). Average age at cancer diagnosis was 59 years.

The results show that a 100 mL per day increase in the consumption of sugary drinks was associated with an 18% increased risk of overall cancer and a 22% increased risk of breast cancer.

When the group of sugary drinks was split into fruit juices and other sugary drinks, the consumption of both beverage types was associated with a higher risk of overall cancer. No association was found for prostate and colorectal cancers, but numbers of cases were more limited for these cancer locations.

In contrast, the consumption of artificially sweetened (diet) beverages was not associated with a risk of cancer, but the authors warn that caution is needed in interpreting this finding owing to a relatively low consumption level in this sample.

Possible explanations for these results include the effect of the sugar contained in sugary drinks on visceral fat (stored around vital organs such as the liver and pancreas), blood sugar levels, and inflammatory markers, all of which are linked to increased cancer risk.

Other chemical compounds, such as additives in some sodas might also play a role, they add.

This is an observational study, so can’t establish cause, and the authors say they cannot rule out some misclassification of beverages or guarantee detection of every new cancer case.

Nevertheless, the study sample was large and they were able to adjust for a wide range of potentially influential factors. What’s more, the results were largely unchanged after further testing, suggesting that the findings withstand scrutiny.

These results need replication in other large scale studies, say the authors.

“These data support the relevance of existing nutritional recommendations to limit sugary drink consumption, including 100% fruit juice, as well as policy actions, such as taxation and marketing restrictions targeting sugary drinks, which might potentially contribute to the reduction of cancer incidence,” they conclude.

Source: BMJ

Sugary Drinks and Fruit Juice May Increase Risk of Early Death

Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . . . . .

Most folks know that sugary drinks aren’t healthy, but a new study finds fruit juices are not much better.

In fact, consuming them regularly may help shorten your life, researchers say.

“Older adults who drink more sugary beverages, which include fruit juice as well as sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages, may be at risk of dying earlier,” said study author Jean Welsh. She is an associate professor at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

“Efforts to decrease consumption of sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages should also include fruit juices, and these efforts need to include adults as well as children,” Welsh said.

For the study, Welsh and her colleagues collected data on 13,440 men and women, average age 64, who were part of a large stroke study from 2003 to 2007. Among these participants, 71% were obese or overweight.

The participants were asked how many sugar-sweetened drinks they consumed. Over an average of six years, 1,168 of the participants died.

The researchers found that those who drank the most sugar-sweetened beverages — including 100% fruit juice — had higher odds of dying during the study, compared with those who drank the least of these.

Moreover, each additional 12-ounce drink increased the risk even more.

The report was published online in JAMA Network Open.

In the United States, about half of the population consumes at least one sugar-sweetened drink per day, said Marta Guasch-Ferre, a research scientist in the department of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston.

“Most people are aware that sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages — including soft drinks, fruit punch and energy drinks — are associated with weight gain and adverse health effects. But fruit juices are still widely perceived by many as a healthier option,” Guasch-Ferre said.

Evidence has shown that sugar-sweetened drinks are tied to an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and obesity, she added. The evidence is less clear for fruit juice.

Whole juice contains some nutrients, and that may be beneficial for health, but they also contain relatively high amounts of sugar from natural sources, Guasch-Ferre explained.

Although fruit juices have been associated with an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, whole fruits have not, she said.

Current recommendations suggest drinking no more than 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day, Guasch-Ferre said.

“Although fruit juices are not as harmful as sugar-sweetened beverages, consumption should be moderated in both children and adults, especially for individuals who attempt to control their body weight,” said Guasch-Ferre, who co-authored an accompanying journal editorial.

Fruit-based smoothies are commonly seen as healthier options. However, their ingredients can vary substantially and there is limited research on their health effects, she said. In addition, smoothies are usually very high in calories and so aren’t recommended as daily beverages. Vegetable juice is a lower-calorie alternative to fruit juice, but may contain a lot of salt.

“The current evidence suggests that water should be the preferred beverage, and the intake of other beverages such as tea or coffee, without sugar and creamers, should be chosen in place of sugar-sweetened drinks,” Guasch-Ferre advised.

Source: HealthDay


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