Numerous studies had shown that sugary drinks would lead to various health hazards including heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Such findings have prompted some legislative moves, for instance, ban is imposed in New York on super-sized sodas.
A group of researchers from Egypt and Japan conducted a study in Japan and found similar results. In their paper published on October 17, 2012 in ‘The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’, they stated that women who consumed sugary drinks almost everyday were 83 percent more likely to develop ischemic stroke.
Ischemic stroke is a medical condition in which a blood vessel supplying blood to an area of the brain is blocked by a blood clot. It accounts for about 80 percent of all strokes, and it is the most common type of stroke in older adults.
In the study, only sugar-sweetened sodas and juices were considered as soft drinks, and so diet sodas or 100 percent fruit juices were excluded.
39,786 Japanese men and women aged between 40 and 59 years old answered a dietary, health and lifestyle questionnaire in 1990, 1995 and 2000. These participants were divided into 4 groups: those who rarely drank soft drinks, those who had 1 to 2 drinks a week, those who had 3 to 4 drinks a week, and those who had a soft drink almost everyday.
Until 2008, out of 11,800 women who rarely had a soft drink, 205 (1.7 percent) had an ischemic stroke. For 921 women who had a soft drink a day, 28 (3 percent) of them had such a stroke.
It could be the beverages’ effects on metabolism that raised the risk of stroke among women who favored soda drinking. High soft drink intake can cause weight gain, higher blood sugar and fats, as well as hypertension. This would in turn increase the risk of ischemic stroke.
However, no link between soft drink consumption and stroke risk was found in men. According to researchers, this could be because men with early signs of cardiovascular disease might have already reduced their intake of soda drink.
Meanwhile, the study did not find any association between soft drink and increased risk of heart disease. This probably because the underlying metabolic problems tied to soft drinks are more of a risk factor for stroke than for heart disease, as explained by researchers.