Saturday, September 29, 2007

Danger of Soft Drink Consumption

In this fast paced society of ours, fast food has taken hold on our younger generation. The growing popularity of McDonalds (you can see them every day), lends credence to the fact that we do not even have time to eat. Fast food brings with it calories and trans-fat, both of which are not good for the heart.

Together with the fast food, comes the mandatory soft drink. To lessen the guilt, we have diet soft drinks. Well, is there any data on soft drinks and their dangers? Yes, there is. The July electronic edition of Circulation carried a study by the Boston group on soft drinks consumption and the metabolic syndrome. They sent out questionnaires to about 6,000 residents in Framingham county, inquiring about their soft drinks habit and then reviewing their medical records for the presence of metabolic syndrome. They discovered that the daily consumption of a soft drink over 4 years, was significantly associated with a 40% increase or more of the metabolic syndrome. It really did not matter whether it was a classic soft drink or the diet variety.

Although the drinks were not disclosed, I suspect that it is either the coke or sodas. It can be difficult to differentiate between the role of the soft drinks or the trans-fat in the fast food diet, although their multi-variate analysis seem to suggest that it is the soft drinks. I must say that 44% increase, makes almost 1 in 2 soft drink drinkers likely to develop the metabolic syndrome over a four year period.

This must be very worrying. It may be wise for the government to limit the amount of soft drinks sold and to whom. That will save us much healthcare budget and also lessen cardiac disease. For medical workers, it may be important for them to find out the reason soft drinks cause the metabolic syndrome, since an increase incidence of metabolic syndrome was also noted with the diet variety soft drinks. If increase calories was not the cause of soft drinks associated metabolic syndrome, then why? There obviously is much more work needs to be done.

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