(NaturalNews) New research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) suggests drinking sodas and other sugary beverages may significantly increase stroke risk, particularly among women. The study out of Japan found that, compared to women who drink virtually no sugary beverages, women who drink about one a day are 83 percent more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke, the most common form of stroke, and the type that involves a blood clot blocking blood flow to the brain.
Dr. Hiroyasu Iso from Osaka University and his colleagues evaluated data collected on 40,000 people who filled out questionnaires at three time intervals, once in 1990, and again in 1995 and 2000. These individuals shared details about their dietary and lifestyle habits, including how many sodas or sugar-sweetened juices and other beverages they consumed daily. Excluded from consideration were so-called "diet" sodas and 100 percent fruit juices.
Upon analysis, the team observed that ischemic stroke risk increased progressively depending on how many sugary beverages participants consumed in a given week. At lowest risk were women who drank virtually no soft drinks or sugary beverages at all -- out of 11,800 in this group, only 205, or 1.7 percent, had an ischemic stroke in the followup years. At the same time, 28 women out of 921 who drank at least one sugary beverage per day went on to have a stroke, representing a three percent stroke rate for this group.
"It makes sense, if (sugar sweetened beverages) increase the risk for obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, inflammation, then it should, in fact, raise the risk for cardiovascular disease, and that's what we're seeing," said Dr. Adam Bernstein from the Cleveland Clinic, who was not directly involved with the research, about the study. "No single strategy is going to solve the problem, and I think a multi-pronged approach is going to work."
Earlier study finds diet sodas increase stroke risk, too
Much to the confusion of the research team, stroke risk did not appear to rise among men using the same parameters as for women. Dr. Bernstein suggests that this may be a result of other factors, such as men choosing to drink fewer sodas after learning that they are already at risk of having a stroke down the road. Another factor may include the fact that men typically have faster metabolism rates than women, which means their bodies process sugars differently.
A review from earlier this year found similar results from soda consumption. Researchers from both Harvard University and the Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute determined that both sugary and diet sodas increase stroke risk among both men and women. Dr. Bernstein, who was involved with this earlier research, suggested at the time that perhaps caramel coloring, a synthetic chemical often added to soda beverages, may be a cause of chronic inflammation, which in turn leads some to suffer heart disease and stroke.
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