Greater sugar-sweetened and low-calorie soda consumption is associated with a higher risk of stroke. Conversely, consumption of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee was associated with a lower risk, this was found by researchers from Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute and Harvard University.
Previous research has linked sugar-sweetened beverage consumption with weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gout and coronary artery disease. The study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is the first to examine soda’s affect on stroke risk.
Adam Bernstein, MD, ScD, study author and Research Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute says, “Soda remains the largest source of added sugar in the diet. What we’re beginning to understand is that regular intake of these beverages sets off a chain reaction in the body that can potentially lead to many diseases, including stroke.”
In the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study between 1986 & 2008, the research analyzed soda consumption among forty three thousand three hundred and seventy one men who participated – and eighty four thousand eighty five women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study between 1980 & 2008.
Two thousand nine hundred and thirty eight strokes were documented in women, during that time, while one thousand four hundred and sixteen strokes were documented in men.
In sugar-sweetened sodas, the sugar load may lead to rapid increases in blood glucose and insulin which, over time, may lead to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and inflammation.
This risk for stroke appears higher in women than in men. These physiologic changes influence atherosclerosis, plaque stability and thrombosis, all of which are risk factors of ischemic stroke.
When compared with one serving of sugar-sweetened soda, one serving of decaffeinated coffee was associated with a ten percent lower risk of stroke.
In comparison, coffee contains chlorogenic acids, lignans and magnesium, all of which act as antioxidants and may reduce stroke risk.
In addition, study findings show that men and women who consumed more than one serving of sugar-sweetened soda per day had higher rates of high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol and lower physical activity rates.
Men and women who consumed low-calorie soda had a higher incidence of chronic disease and a higher body mass index (BMI). Those who drank soda more frequently were also more likely to eat red meat and whole-fat dairy products.