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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU: Added Sugar Affects Cholesterol

Drinking 12 ounces of sugary drinks more than once per day is linked to lower levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C, known as “good” cholesterol) and higher levels of triglycerides in middle aged and older adults, both of which have been shown to increase risk of cardiovascular disease.

That’s according to a new observational study co-authored by Boston University School of Public Health researchers and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The researchers hypothesized that dyslipidemia could be one pathway by which sugary drinks may increase cardiovascular disease risk. An estimated 40 to 50 percent of U.S. adults are affected by dyslipidemia, an unhealthy imbalance of cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

To determine the association between sugary drinks on triglyceride and cholesterol levels, the researchers used medical data from 5,924 participants from the Offspring and Generation 3 cohorts of the Boston University-based Framingham Heart Study, who were followed for an average of 12.5 years between 1991 and 2014. The Offspring cohort of the Framingham Heart Study includes the children of original participants in the Framingham Heart Study, and the Generation 3 cohort includes grandchildren of the original participants.

“The careful collection of data on diet and cardiovascular risk factors over multiple years from the Framingham Heart Study participants provide a unique resource to examine the effect of drinking sugary beverages on lipid profile, a known cardiovascular risk factor,” says study co-author Dr. Josée Dupuis, professor and chair of biostatistics.

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