As little as two servings a day of sugary drinks - sugar-sweetened soft drinks, sweetened mineral water, and "regular" nonalcoholic beer are some examples - leads to increased risk of heart disease and diabetes in women, according to a new study.

The study was presented on Sunday at an American Heart Association meeting in Orlando, FL. University of Oklahoma researchers studied over 4,000 healthy men and women aged 45-84. After five years of study, they discovered that women who regularly drank sugar-sweetened beverages had a four-times higher risk of heart disease and diabetes than women who rarely drank them. The sugary drinks are believed to cause increased levels of triglicerides, a type of fat that causes heart disease and impaired blood sugar levels.

The study notes that men don't seem to be affected in the same way by low amounts of sugar-sweetened drinks. Study author Dr. Christina Shay believes that's because women, smaller physically than men, have lower energy requirements, leading them to store excess sugars as fat. Fats stored around the waist are particularly likely to increase risk of heart disease and diabetes.

With heart disease remaining the main cause of death among both women and men, some doctors  recommend fewer sugary drinks. Cardiologist Dr. Stacy Rosen notes, "A lot of things that keep us healthy are hard work, but cutting back on sweetened drinks isn't one of them."

(CBS.com)