Consuming two or more sugary drinks a day spells trouble for heart health, based on a study linking sweetened beverage consumption to increased heart failure risk in Swedish men.
Published in the British journal Heart, this study is among the first to investigate the link between sugar-sweetened beverages and heart failure. A number of studies have found that high consumption of sugary drinks can lead to weight gain and increase risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. However, the relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and heart failure is less clear.
To learn more on the issue, researchers analyzed the dietary habits of more than 42,000 men in the Cohort of Swedish Men. Established in 1997, this study surveyed adult men in Central Sweden about their diet, lifestyle and overall health. Through questionnaires, participants reported their daily and weekly intake of sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and sweetened juice drinks. Researchers then followed participants for nearly 12 years to track outcomes like heart failure, heart disease and death.
After analysis, researchers found that the more sugary beverages men consumed, the greater their risk for heart failure. In fact, men who consumed two or more servings of sugary beverages a day had 23% higher risk of developing heart failure than men consuming no sweetened beverages.
Heart failure is a major public health concern in the United States, currently affecting 5.8 million Americans. Heart failure rates are expected to rise in the next few decades. Based on study findings, it’s possible that sugary beverages contribute to current trends.
To address this issue, researchers encourage better strategies for heart failure prevention. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is key to reducing risk for heart disease—and that includes limiting consumption of sugary beverages. Not only can these steps improve overall health, they can help reduce risk for heart failure and other conditions.