Published on November 14, 2011 at 4:43 PM
Dr. Stephen Devries, a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago agreed. High sugar levels increase triglycerides, lower good cholesterol and prompt the body to make an especially damaging, smaller molecule of bad cholesterol. Too much sugar also raises levels of inflammation, another risk factor heart disease, Devries said. “The body is a delicate ecosystem, so if you change one area it will have an unintended consequence somewhere else,” Devries said.
In the new study, many women saw expanding waistlines, even if they did not gain weight. Cardiologists point out that such “belly fat” may have an especially negative effect on heart health. “It's even shown that women who are thin, with big waist lines are at greater risk for heart disease,” said Dr. Holly Andersen, of the Perelman Heart Institute at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. The fat around the organs in the center of the body produces hormones “that make us more likely to get diabetes, higher blood pressure, higher triglycerides,” Andersen said.
The women in the study were middle aged and older, so post-menopausal hormonal shifts might have made it more difficult to keep weight off their middles, she added. All the more reason why women might want to be careful with a soda habit, Coulter said. “The message is that women have smaller frames then men, and therefore need more calorie restriction,” she said.