60-year-old Morris McWilliams knew it was time to see his doctor when he began having chest pains. He was diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. His doctor told him to change his diet, especially what he drank. "Fruit drinks, sodas, combination of both."
A new study finds that for men drinking just one 12-ounce sugar sweetened beverage a day could increase the risk of heart disease by 20%. "'Wow. That's kind of like, I was a heart attack waiting to happen, huh?'"
Harvard School of Public Health researchers followed more than 42,000 men between 40 and 75 years of age. For 20 years, they kept careful records of their food intake. Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum is a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital. "Sugar sweetened beverages increases inflammation and inflammation might be the culprit in what leads to heart disease."
You don't have to elminate all sugar drinks. The study found that less frequent consumption, anywhere from two drinks a month to as many as two a week, did not increase the risk of heart disease. Neither did having artificially sweetened beverages.
McWilliams lost more than 30 pounds in 4 months by eliminating sugar drinks, and eating less. "I'm not on a diet. I'm a happy eater. I'm able to eat and enjoy foods that I'm eating."
His doctor says if he adds regular exercise to his new lifestyle his health will improve even more.