Love sugary drinks? You might want to cut the consumption as new study shows beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup drastically increases risk factors for heart disease.

The study by University of California, which is the first to demonstrate a direct, dose-dependent relationship between the amount of added sugar consumed in sweetened beverages and increases in specific risk factors, found that the risk is heightened even when consumed for just two weeks by young, healthy men and women.

Study’s lead author Kimber Stanhope said that the findings clearly indicate that humans are acutely sensitive to the harmful effects of excess dietary sugar over a broad range of consumption levels. The 85 participants, including men and women ranging in age from 18 to 40 years, were placed in four different groups. During 15 days of the study, they consumed beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup equivalent to 0 percent, 10 percent, 17.5 percent or 25 percent of their total daily calorie requirements.

The researchers also found that most of the increases in lipid/lipoprotein risk factors for cardiovascular disease were greater in men than in women and were independent of body weight gain. Stanhope noted that the study findings underscore the need to extend the research using carefully controlled dietary intervention studies, aimed at determining what would be prudent levels for added sugar consumption.

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