|Framingham Observational Study Notes Greater
Incidence of Metabolic Syndrome Among Adults Consuming Soft Drinks
Middle-aged adults who drank more than one soft drink daily, either
diet or regular, have a more than 40 percent greater rate of either
having or developing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions
that increase the risk for heart disease, according to new data
from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National
Institutes of Health.
A person is considered to have metabolic syndrome if he or she
has three or more of the following five risk factors: waist circumference
greater than or equal to 35 inches (women) or 40 inches (men),
fasting blood glucose of greater than or equal to 100 mg/dL, triglycerides
greater than or equal to 150 mg/dL; blood pressure greater than
or equal to 135/85 mmHg, and HDL “good” cholesterol below 40mg/dL
for men or below 50 mg/dL for women.
Results from the Framingham Heart Study’s “Soft Drink Consumption
and Risk of Developing Cardio-Metabolic Risk Factors and the Metabolic
Syndrome in Middle Aged Adults in the Community," will be published
online in Circulation on July 23, 2007.
“Other studies have shown that the extra calories and sugar in
soft drinks contribute to weight gain, and therefore heart disease
risk,” said Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., Director, NHLBI. “This study
echoes those findings by extending the link to all soft drinks
and the metabolic syndrome.”
While the authors acknowledge that the increased risk of metabolic
syndrome associated with high-calorie, high-sugar regular soft
drinks might be expected, the similar risk found among those drinking
diet sodas is more challenging to understand, they say. It is worth
noting that dietary patterns are similar across drinkers of both
regular and diet soft drinks.
“Although our study adjusted for lifestyle factors, it is known
that people who regularly drink soft drinks — even diet sodas — are
also known to eat foods that are higher in calories and fat, and
get less physical activity,” said Ramachandran Vasan, M.D, professor
of medicine at Boston School of Medicine, and senior author of
“High soft drink consumption may in fact be a marker for metabolic
syndrome risk, but more study is needed,” said Ravi Dhingra, M.D.,
instructor in medicine, Harvard Medical School, and lead author.
Data was collected in two ways, via physician-administered questionnaire
that captured average daily of consumption of 12 ounce soft drinks,
and a self-administered food frequency questionnaire that captured
the frequency of diet versus regular soft drink intake. Both questionnaires
were recorded during Heart Study visits scheduled in 1987-1991
and 1995-1998, and accounted for nearly 9,000 person observations.
“Our results point to the importance of long-term observational
studies such as the Framingham Heart Study, which allow us to take
a closer look at how aspects of diet are inter-related with health
risks,” said Caroline Fox, MD, medical officer, Framingham Heart
Study and study co-author.
Aim for Healthy Weight: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/index.htm.
Your Guide to Healthy Heart: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/other/your_guide/healthyheart.htm.
Diseases and Conditions Index – Metabolic Syndrome: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/ms/ms_whatis.html.
To request an interview with Drs. Fox or Dhingra, please call
(301) 496-4236. To request an interview with Dr. Ramachandran Vasan,
please call, Gina DiGravio, at the Boston Medical Center at (617)
Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart,
Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports
research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment
of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders.
The Institute also administers national health education campaigns
on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other
topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available
online at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.