Men who drank a sugar-sweetened beverage (12-ounces) a day had a 20
percent higher risk of heart disease compared to men who didn't
drink any sugar-sweetened drinks, according to research published in
Circulation, an American Heart Association journal.
"This study adds to the growing evidence that sugary beverages are
detrimental to cardio-vascular health," said researchers from the
department of nutrition and epidemiology in the Harvard School of
Public Health in Boston, Mass. "Certainly, it provides strong
justification for reducing sugary beverage consumption among
patients, and more importantly, in the general population."
Heart disease is the leading
cause of death in the United States. The most crucial risk factors
include obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, diabetes and poor
Researchers, who studied 42,883 men in the Health Professionals
Follow-Up Study, found that the increase persisted even after
controlling for other risk factors, including smoking, physical
inactivity, alcohol use and family history of heart disease. Less
frequent consumption of the sweetened beverages such as twice weekly
and twice monthly did not increase risk.
Researchers also measured
different lipids and proteins in the blood, which are indicators
(biomarkers) for heart disease. These included
the inflammation marker C-reactive protein (CRP), harmful lipids
called triglycerides and good lipids called high-density
lipoproteins (HDL). Compared to non-drinkers, those who consumed
sugary beverages daily had higher triglyceride and CRP and lower HDL
Artificially sweetened beverages were not linked to increased risk
or biomarkers for heart disease in this particular study.
Beginning in January 1986 and
every two years until December 2008, participants responded to
questionnaires about diet and other health habits. They also
provided a blood sample halfway through the survey. Follow-up was 22
years. Participants were primarily Caucasian men 40-75 years old.
All were employed in a health-related profession.
Health habits of the men in the study may differ from those of the
general public, but findings in women from the 2009 Nurses' Health
The American Heart Association
recommends no more than half of discretionary calories come from
added sugars . For most American men,
that's no more than 150 calories per day and 100 for most American
women. Discretionary calories are those left in your "energy
allowance" after consuming the recommended types and amounts of
foods to meet all daily nutrient requirements.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded the analysis and
the National Institutes of Health funded the Health Professionals