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Sweet drinks can make you add pounds: study

Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to an increased risk of obesity.

Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to an increased risk of obesity,a new research has found.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have found that greater intake of sugary beverages may result in greater genetic susceptibility to high body mass index (BMI).

The study was based on data from three large cohorts,1,21,700 women in the Nurses’ Health Study,51,529 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and 25,000 in the Women’s Genome Health Study.

All of the participants had completed food-frequency questionnaires detailing their food and drink consumption over time.

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The researchers analysed data from 6,934 women from NHS,4,423 men from HPFS,and 21,740 women from WGHS who were of European ancestry and for whom genotype data based on genome-wide association studies were available.

Participants were divided into four groups according to how many sugary drinks they consumed: less than one serving of SSB per month,between 1-4 servings per month,between 2-6 servings per week,and one or more servings per day.

To represent the overall genetic predisposition,a genetic predisposition score was calculated on the basis of the 32 single-nucleotide polymorphisms known to be associated with BMI (weight in kilogrammes divided by the square of the height

in metres).

The results showed that the genetic effects on BMI and obesity risk among those who drank one or more sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) per day were about twice as large as those who consumed less than one serving per month.

In addition,individuals with greater genetic predisposition to obesity appear to be more susceptible to harmful effects of SSBs on BMI.

“Our study for the first time provides reproducible evidence from three prospective cohorts to show genetic and dietary factors – sugar-sweetened beverages – may mutually influence their effects on body weight and obesity risk,” said Lu Qi,assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH and senior author of the study.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.