Just one can of fizzy drink a day linked to increased heart risk
Drinking two or more glasses of fizzy or sweetened drinks a day is linked to an increased risk of heart failure, experts have warned.
Two 200ml servings – equivalent to just over a can of drink a day – could increase the risk of heart failure by 23pc, a study found.
Sweetened drinks have been linked previously to changes in blood pressure as well as insulin and glucose levels.
Soft drinks have also been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Researchers, writing in the journal Heart, said this was the first time a link has been made with heart failure.
They asked more than 42,000 men in Sweden about their consumption of 96 food and drink items over the previous year.
People were asked: “How many soft drinks or sweetened juice drinks do you drink per day or per week?”
Fruit juice and sugary tea and coffee were not included in the definition. Researchers also did not distinguish between drinks sweetened with sugar and those that were sweetened with artificial sweeteners.
All the men, who were aged 45 to 79 when they entered the study, were tracked for an average of 12 years.
During that time, 3,604 new cases of heart failure were diagnosed, and 509 people died of their condition.
After taking into account factors that may influence the results, two servings of sweetened drinks was associated with a 23pc increased risk of developing heart failure compared with drinking none at all.
A deeper analysis, excluding people diagnosed with heart failure in the first five years, showed the link still held true.
The researchers warned that because it was an observational study, no conclusion could be drawn to say sweetened drinks definitely caused heart failure.
They also stressed that the study only involved older white men and may not be applicable to younger age groups, women, or certain ethnic groups.
But they said the findings could help doctors in giving out dietary advice to prevent heart failure.
“Our study findings suggest that sweetened beverage consumption could contribute to heart failure development,” they added.
“These findings could have implications for heart failure prevention strategies.”
In an accompanying editorial, Spanish professors Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez and Miguel Ruiz-Canela, said people who drink a lot of sweetened drinks often have a poor diet.
However, they added: “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 the findings.”