Harvard Health Letter

Sweetened drinks and heart failure


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Here's another reason to take sweetened drinks out of your diet: a study published online Nov. 2, 2015, by the journal Heart suggests that drinking sweetened beverages each day is linked to an increased risk for heart failure in men. Heart failure is a gradual decline in the heart's ability to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Researchers tracked the dietary information of 42,000 middle-aged or older men in Sweden from 1998 to 2010. They made no distinction between types of drinks or how they were sweetened, whether it was with sugar, fructose, or artificial sweetener. However, coffee, tea, and fruit juice were not included in the study. After excluding potentially influential factors, researchers noted that men who drank at least two daily servings of sweetened drinks had a 23% heightened risk of developing heart failure compared with men who didn't drink sweetened beverages. The study didn't prove that sweetened drinks caused heart failure. In fact, the researchers pointed out that drinking a lot of sweetened beverages is usually an indication of a poor diet, which is a risk factor for heart failure in itself. But they also noted that sweetened drinks are associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes, which are risk factors for heart failure, too. Best advice: avoid sweetened beverages or at least limit them to occasional consumption.