When we think of clogged arteries, we tend to vilify hamburgers, french fries, and other high-fat indulgence foods.
But these fatty foods have a quiet accomplice: sugar. Or rather, the immune cells that over-indulge on it.
Researchers from Stanford University have found that immune cells lurking in plaque buildups in arteries tend to over-consume sugar. When they do, they produce an over-zealous inflammatory response, which likely contributes to coronary artery disease (CAD) - a condition in which constricted arteries restrict or block blood-flow around the heart, leading to heart attacks, heart failure and death.
The disease affects about 16 million (pdf) Americans annually. Their research was published (paywall) Monday (Feb. 29) in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
The industry has found itself out of favor as consumers seek beverage alternatives to soda that they deem healthier, notably juices and flavored waters. Those alternatives don’t contain as many calories as soda, and also don’t include ingredients like the sweetener aspartame, which has fallen out of favor in recent years.
“Computer games themselves are not the issue,” adds Perk. “The problem is that kids sit there with a two-litre bottle of fizzy drink. To burn those calories they would need to walk 46 kilometres but they don’t.”