We all know that snacking on bags of crisps and bars of chocolate washed down with a litre of something fizzy is no good for our waistline or insides. In fact, very few people need another study to tell them the dangers of a diet high in sugar and fat, but unfortunately it’s an area of growing concern as obesity continues to soar across the world.
This time, latest research highlights the damage fizzy drinks cause to our insides, with those consuming the sugary beverages daily finding their organs wrapped in fat.
Scientists at the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Massachusetts followed 1,000 middle-aged participants for six years to conclude their results. Everyone in the study was asked how often they drank fizzy drinks and underwent X-rays to determine how much visceral fat they had.
Visceral fat is harmful fat stored within the abdominal cavity, which means it lingers around a number of important internal organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines. As well as making people pile on the pounds, visceral fat plays an important part in diabetes, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.
The results have been published in medical journal Circulation, with the team finding those who drank sugary or fizzy drinks every day put on nearly a litre in extra visceral fat over the six years. That’s 30 per cent more than those who never consumed the beverage.
Diet drinks didn’t yield the same results, which suggests it’s sugar that causes the problem. The team suggests that insulin resistance triggered by added sugar could be to blame for fat increase.
“There is evidence linking sugar-sweetened beverages with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes,” Dr Caroline Fox, who led the new study, explained.
“Our message to consumers is to follow the current dietary guidelines and to be mindful of how much sugar-sweetened beverages they drink. To policy makers, this study adds another piece of evidence to the growing body of research suggesting sugar-sweetened beverages may be harmful to our health.”
Talk of a sugar tax is ongoing in Britain, with the latest study poised to add even more weight to the argument to make sugary treats more expensive.