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Sweet drinks build visceral fat


Young woman drinking a sugary drink outside

Credit: 123RF

Visceral fat is fat that wraps itself around your internal organs like the liver, pancreas, and intestines. High levels of visceral fat are thought to impact how your hormones function and to raise your risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. You don’t want to be building up your visceral fat levels but according to a new study if you are drinking lots of sugar-sweetened drinks like soft drinks then that is exactly what you are doing.

The results showed a strong relationship between levels of visceral fat and sugar-sweetened drink consumption

The new study involved more than 1,000 subjects with an average age of 45. The subjects all completed food questionnaires and had CT scans at the beginning of the study and then at the end of the study six years later. Based on the food survey the people were divided into four groups; people who never drank sugar-sweetened drinks (non-drinkers), occasional drinkers (having sugar-sweetened drinks once a month or less than once a week, frequent drinkers (once a week or less than once a day), and people who drank at least one sugar-sweetened drink daily. Sugar-sweetened drinks can be sweetened by sucrose or high fructose corn syrup and include soft drinks, fruit juices, and carbonated or non-carbonated drinks.

The results showed a strong relationship between levels of visceral fat and sugar-sweetened drink consumption and the relationship existed independent of factors like age, gender, body mass index, and exercise levels.

Specifically the results showed that visceral fat levels increased by; 658 centimetres cubed for non-drinkers, 649 centimetres cubed for occasional drinkers, 707 centimetres cubed for frequent drinkers, and 852 centimetres cubed for people who drank a sugar-sweetened drink every day. That tells you that having a sugar-sweetened drink once a month is having no effect but having them once week starts to build visceral fat and having daily sugar-sweetened drinks is drowning your organs in blubber.



 

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.