Are You Unnecessarily Increasing Your Risk of Developing Heart Disease?

Two studies have determined consuming beverages containing a certain ingredient is linked to a significant increase in the risk of developing cardiovascular (heart) disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.

A recent study has determined consuming beverages containing a certain ingredient is linked to a significant increase in the risk of developing cardiovascular (heart) disease. The study published in the journal Heart determined men drinking sweetened beverages containing low, medium and large amounts of high- fructose corn syrup sweetened increased with sugar or artificial sweetener — were putting their hearts in danger.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institute located in Stockholm, Sweden closely measured the health and diets of 42, 400 men aged 45 to 79. Over a 12-year span, participants were asked to track what they ate and drank on a daily and weekly basis, including the number of sweetened beverages at about 7 ounces a glass.

During the experiment, 3,604 people developed heart failure and 509 of them eventually died from it. It didn’t matter if the drink was sweetened with sugar, fructose, glucose, or artificial sweeteners — if a participant drank at least two servings a day they increased their risk of heart failure by 25 percent.

Heart failure: The #1 Cause of Hospitalizations

Heart failure affects more than 23 million people worldwide and nearly six million Americans. Contrary to popular belief, heart failure doesn’t mean the heart stops beating. Rather, it stops pumping blood as efficiently as it used to, according to the American Heart Association which results in a shortage of oxygen rich blood delivered throughout the body. The condition worsens over time if left untreated.

Heart failure is the most common reason people 65 and older wind up in the hospital. But current recommendations for preventing heart failure only include incorporating a healthy diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium. There are no recommendations for sugar or artificial sweetener intake, which makes these findings all the more important for older adults’ health strategies.

Researchers are still trying to piece together what exactly goes wrong in the body when it’s fed sugar and artificial sweeteners. And this study isn’t the first to implicate sweet drinks as a danger to public health. A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health found only one or two sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, or sports drinks, could increase a person’s risk of having a heart attack by 35 percent, developing type 2 diabetes by 26 percent, and stroke by 16 percent.

“The well-known association of sweetened beverages with obesity and type 2 diabetes, which are risk factors for heart failure, reinforces the biological plausibility of findings,” the researchers noted. “Based on their results, the best message for a preventive strategy would be to recommend an occasional consumption of sweetened beverages or to avoid them altogether.”

Heart failure is associated with certain nutrient  deficiencies including CoQ10. Ironically, statin drugs while interrupting cholestol production, also halts the CO10 production in every cell-leading to known side effects including, muscle pain, liver damage, brain dysfunction and heart failure. Magnesium deficiency is also linked to an increased risk of developing heart failure.  It is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the US.  An estimated 25% of all Americans do not consume enough magnesium.

Drinking Two Servings of Sugar Sweetened Beverages-Linked to Several Chronic Diseases

A second study found consuming one or two servings a day of sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to a 35 percent greater risk of heart attack or fatal heart disease, a 16 percent increased risk of stroke and as much as a 26 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the report concluded.

The added sugar in sodas, fruit drinks, sweet teas and energy drinks affects the body in ways that increase risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke, said review author Vasanti Malik, a nutrition research scientist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

The report, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, is part of a new focus on excess sugar as a risk for heart disease, said Marina Chaparro, a clinical dietitian at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Fla.

Sugar is a Significant Risk Factor

“Previously, everything focused on low fat, and reducing fat and cholesterol,” said Chaparro, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “The dietary guidelines that are about to come out really focus on added sugars, and not as much on cholesterol and total fat. Those are important, but the impact of sugar has become much more profound.”

Sugar-sweetened beverages account for about one-half of added sugars in the U.S. diet, Malik said. One can of regular soda contains about 35 grams of sugar, which is equal to nearly nine teaspoons.

Manufacturers most often use either table sugar or high-fructose corn syrup to sweeten beverages, researchers said.

Researchers believe both fructose and glucose damage the heart. Glucose spikes blood glucose and causes insulin levels to rise, which can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, Malik said. Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease.

Fructose also causes heart health issues, but in more insidious ways. Its presence can prompt the liver to release triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol into the bloodstream, Malik said. Too much fructose can lead to fatty liver disease.

Overconsumption of fructose can also lead to too much uric acid in the blood, which is associated with a greater risk of gout, a painful inflammatory arthritis. Inflammation also has been linked to heart disease, Malik said.

Finally, fructose has been shown to promote the accumulation of belly fat, another risk factor for heart disease, she said.

For now, the researchers urge consumers to reduce the amount of added sugar in their diet.

Limiting or eliminating sugar-sweetened beverages is a solid first step, Malik said, noting many foods also contain added sugar.


Larsson SC, Rahman I, and Wolk A. The relationship between sweetened beverage consumption and risk of heart failure in men. Heart. 2015.