Sugary Drinks Linked to Heart Disease in Men

Sugar sweetened beverages associated with heart disease in men

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Are you drawn to drinking sugar-sweetened beverages daily? It may not be doing any favors for your heart. A recent study found that men who drink just one sugary beverage a day are at a heightened heart disease risk.

Drinking one 12-ounce drink that is sweetened with sugar per day was found to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20 percent in men, as compared to males who don't drink a sweetened beverage daily.

"Drink more water and fewer sugar-sweetened beverages."

Dr. Frank B. Hu, study lead author and professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Harvard School of Public Health, said the findings add to mounting evidence that sugary drinks are detrimental for heart health. He said the discovery provides justification for patients to cut back on their consumption of sugary drinks.

During the study investigators followed 42,883 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Most were Caucasian men between the ages of 40 and 75, and all were working in a health profession.

Participants answered questionnaires about diet and health habits beginning in 1986, and every two years until 2008, a follow up period of 22 years. The men also provided blood samples midway through the study.

Investigators used the blood samples to measure different lipid and protein levels in the blood, which are indicators of heart disease. Researchers found that men who drank sugary beverages daily had higher triglycerides, elevated inflammation marker C-reactive protein and lower good HDL cholesterol. High levels of HDL cholesterol help protect the heart.

They found the association between sugar-sweetened beverages and cardiovascular risk even after adjusting the study for factors that impact heart disease including smoking, sedentary lifestyle, alcohol consumption and a family history of heart disease.

Men who drank sweetened beverages less often, such as monthly or twice a week, were not found to be at an added heart risk. Artificially-sweetened drinks also were not found to increase cardiovascular risk.

The American Heart Association suggests that American men consume no more than 150 calories per day from added sugars, while U.S. women should consume no more than 100 calories from added sugars.

The research, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the National Institutes of Health, was recently published in Circulation, an American Heart Association journal.

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Review Date: 
March 14, 2012
Last Updated:
March 14, 2012