Sugar-sweetened beverages increase visceral belly fat, diet drinks don’t: Study

Sugary soda brings about belly fat, a study shows.

A daily intake of sugary drinks can lead to high levels of visceral belly fat, according to a recent study from the American Heart Association.

The study, titled Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption is Associated With Change of Visceral Adipose Tissue Over 6 Years of Follow-Up, said there is a correlation between regular sugary beverage intake and a change in visceral adipose tissue in middle age adults.

“In contrast, we observed no such association for diet soda intake,” the study said. “The present study supports current dietary recommendations that limiting [sugar-sweetened beverage] consumption may be helpful to prevent cardiometabolic diseases.”

Abdominal adipose tissue, especially visceral adipose tissue (VAT), commonly referred to as belly fat, has been linked to type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other health problems. The study said both the quantity and quality of the belly fat are associated with cardiometabolic health risks.

The results

Researchers viewed abdominal CT scans of just more than 1,000 adults who were daily soda or sweetened beverage drinkers and compared the scans with adults who did not consume these beverages.

According to the study, those who drank at least one serving of sugar-sweetened beverage per day had a 27% greater increase in VAT over a six year span than those who did not consume these sugary beverages.

“Taken together, these findings suggest that habitual [sugar-sweetened beverage] intake was associated with a long-term adverse change in visceral adiposity, i.e., increased VAT volume and decrease in VAT attenuation, independent of weight gain,” the study’s authors wrote.

In assessing diet soda, researchers did not include all consumption of low-calorie and artificially sweetened, non-carbonated beverages.

The mean age of study participants was 45.3 years, with 45% being women. Participants were examined at baseline and six years later at the Framingham Heart Study’s Third Generation Cohort.

Issues from too many sugary beverages

The study’s authors wrote that excess consumption of sugary beverages that contain fructose may trigger insulin resistance and increase fat accumulation. Fructose can be especially bad for organs, as it is primarily metabolized in the liver and converted to triglyceride. These may be converted to diacylglycerols and impair pathways in the body, thereby leading to cardiovascular diseases.

According to Dr. Caroline Fox, the study’s lead author and medical officer with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Framingham Heart Study and Population Sciences Branch, the message to consumers is to follow dietary guidelines and be mindful of how much sugar they are consuming at all times.

“To policy makers, this study adds another piece of evidence to the growing body of research suggesting sugar-sweetened beverages may be harmful to our health,” she said.

Funding for the study came from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Source Circulation

Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption is Associated With Change of Visceral Adipose Tissue Over 6 Years of Follow-Up

doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.018704

J. Ma, N. McKeown, S. Hwang, U. Hoffman, P. Jacques; C. Fox

Related News

CSPI report dresses down the beverage industry, but the International Council of Beverages Associations claims its members are behaving responsibly

Soda companies rapped for allegedly targeting low and middle income countries

Daily Cultures: 1bn cultures in every cup

‘Digestive health and tea are big markets; putting the two together just makes sense.’ Former Clipper Teas executives launch Daily Cultures

The US, UK, Canada and Germany are among the countries included in the survey

Fizzy drink sugar levels vary dramatically between countries, says survey

The study suggests a gradual reduction in sugar content. Pic: iStock / DundStock

Cutting sugar in soft drinks by 40% could prevent 300,000 cases of diabetes: Study

The prominence of sugary drinks is on the rise in a number of countries

Sugary beverages rise in low and middle income countries, fall in high-income regions

Coca-Cola's COO believes sugar is here to stay.

Coca-Cola president: ‘I don’t see sugar going away’

Related Products

See more related products

Comments (1)

Chick Bowers - 15 Jan 2016 | 03:50

B.S.

So many negative health issues with artificial sweeteners. Stevia is the only True Alternative to sugar.

15-Jan-2016 at 15:50 GMT

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.