MONDAY, March 12 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking sugar-sweetened
beverages every day raises men's risk of heart disease, a long-term
Researchers analyzed data from almost 43,000 men in the Health
Professionals Follow-Up Study and found that those who drank one
12-oz. sugar-sweetened beverage a day had a 20 percent higher risk
of heart disease than those who didn't drink any sugar-sweetened
They also found that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages
was linked to inflammation and higher levels of harmful fats in the
"There are obesity and diabetes epidemics which will ultimately lead to an increase in [the] numbers of cardiovascular deaths in the U.S. in years to come," said Dr. Kevin Marzo, chief of cardiology at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. "Obesity rates have increased in tandem with consumption of sugar-loaded drinks."
"The time for research should be over," Marzo added. "The American Heart Association has already given [its] recommendation for not consuming more than 450 calories from sweetened drinks per week -- less than three cans of soda."
The men in the study, mostly white and from 40 to 75 years old,
were questioned about their health and eating habits every two
years from 1986 until 2008. They also provided a blood sample
halfway through the study period.
Artificially sweetened beverages did not increase the risk of
heart attack, nor did less frequent consumption (twice weekly or
twice monthly) of sugar-sweetened beverages, according to the study
published March 12 in the journal
The increased risk of heart disease among men who regularly
drank sugar-sweetened beverages persisted even after the
researchers controlled for other risk factors such as smoking,
alcohol use, physical inactivity and a family history of heart
"This study adds to the growing evidence that sugary beverages are detrimental to cardiovascular health," lead author Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said in a journal news release.
"Certainly, it provides strong justification for reducing sugary beverage consumption among patients, and more importantly, in the general population," he added.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United
States. While the study noted an association between sugary drinks
and heart disease, it did not show cause and effect.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health outlines
steps to reduce heart risks.