A recent study carried out by the department of nutrition, exercise and sport at the University of Copenhagen makes sobering reading for those in the habit of polishing off several litres of fizzy drink a day or eating lots of sweets.
For the purpose of the study 12 healthy men ingested 225 grams of sugar per day, after which researchers tested their blood circulation while they were sitting down and kicking out with one leg.
After 14 days, circulation in the leg had been reduced by 17 percent, reports Metroxpress.
Taking the sour with the sweet
“We can see that sugar abuse or a very high intake of sugar seems to affect our blood vessels a great deal,” said Professor Lasse Gliemann, the author of the study.
This can be even more serious if sugar has the same effect on blood vessels in other parts of the body.
“[In the study] we measured the blood vessels in the leg, but there are also some very important blood vessels around the heart and brain,” added Gliemann.
“If they are affected to the same degree, then it is extremely disturbing that a high sugar intake alone can influence the blood vessels’ ability to distribute blood effectively.”
Watch your intake
The study emphasises the fact that it is important to keep an eye on what we eat and drink.
“Half a litre of coke once in a while won’t do you any harm as long as you eat healthily and have a varied diet,” said Professor Ylva Hellsten, a co-writer of the study.
“However, if you subject your body to the kind of sustained and massive sugar intake that we used on our subjects, the result – in only 14 days – will be that your blood circulation corresponds to that which we see in some men over 65 years old.”
Back to normal
The 12 men’s blood circulation returned to normal very quickly when they stopped drinking sugar-heavy drinks after the two weeks.
“That is because they are young and healthy men and their system is well protected against this kind of thing. It is far from certain that the same would apply for older men,” said Gliemann.