The relationship between sweetened beverage consumption and risk of heart failure in men

Story going the rounds of the papers today and, I suspect, over the next days and beyond. Note that there is no reason to assume women are not at least equally affected - simply the research was performed on men.

What needs to be appreciated is that this appears to apply regardless of whether the drinks are sweetened with sugar or with other sweeteners.

Heart doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2015-307542

Cardiac risk factors and prevention

Original article

The relationship between sweetened beverage consumption and risk of heart failure in men

Press Release

Iffat Rahman, Alicja Wolk, Susanna C Larsson

Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Correspondence to Dr Susanna C Larsson, Unit of Nutritional Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Box 210, Stockholm 17177, Sweden; Susanna.Larsson{at}

Received 20 January 2015

Revised 12 July 2015

Accepted 19 July 2015

Published Online First 2 November 2015


Objectives To investigate whether sweetened beverage consumption is associated with risk of heart failure (HF) in a large prospective population-based study of men.

Methods and results A population-based cohort comprising 42 400 men, 45–79 years of age, was followed from 1998 through 2010. Sweetened beverage consumption was assessed by utilising a food frequency questionnaire. Incident events of HF were identified through linkage to the Swedish National Patient Register and the Cause of Death Register. Cox regression analyses were implemented to investigate the association between sweetened beverage consumption and HF. During a mean follow-up time of 11.7 years, a total of 4113 HF events were identified. We observed a positive association between sweetened beverage consumption and risk of HF after adjustment for other risk factors (p for trend <0.001). Men who consumed two or more servings of sweetened beverages per day had a statistically significant higher risk of developing HF (23%, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.35) compared to men who were non-consumers.

Conclusions Our finding that sweetened beverage consumption is associated with higher risk of HF could have implications for HF prevention strategies. Additional prospective studies investigating the link between sweetened beverage consumption and HF are therefore needed.

11 Replies

Isn't it just that heart failure is linked to type 2 diabetes? Not exactly ground breaking research...

And why would sweeteners (i.e. not any form of sugar) have that effect?

Because it seems to be the case that artificial sweeteners provoke an insulin response in some (admittedly not all) folk. I think there's stuff about insulin resistance that scientists have yet to fully understand...

I have found that saccharin does affect me - though the flavour is horrific, sometimes I have ended up somewhere with little choice. Typically one saccharin-sweetened drink would have no obvious effect other than on my taste buds. Two would cause my heart rate to increase - sometimes quite a bit. (Am talking soemthing like a small split of tonic water - not half a litre or more of coke.)

Because of this, I avoid saccharin (and all other artifical sweeteners) and only have any by accident. Though I have never had any idea as to why.

I thought the "sweeteners affect blood sugar" theories had been dismissed - but that reference looks very definite.

I thought the same, but just recently I've seen a lot of references to this - I guess with the huge rise in obesity many researchers are having to rethink.

There doesn't seem to be a single soft drink without the dreaded added aspartame (even the ones that contain sugar!) It leaves a foul 'back-taste' in my mouth whenever I have had the misfortune of drinking this muck, so now I'd rather stick to water whenever I go out. I tend to drink a lot of the Volvic flavoured waters (the Orange and Peach is a particular favourite) and have a regular supply in the house which I'll decant into a smaller bottle whenever I go out anywhere to take my T3 tablets with.

My list of drinks has shrivelled to tea, coffee, wine, beer and water. All without added milk or sugar (as appropriate - never did add them to beer).

Water with a slice of lemon, just a thought!

I have some Uk friends who start every day off with their lemon slice - fresh not bottled - in a cup of freshly boiled water, left to cool of course. they say they feel better for it, the husband had collapsed almost during a flight to Spain a few years ago, so she really started looking into what they ate/drank.I've done it myself when I started detoxifying my liver.

I only drink water and smoothies, but I have no difficulty believing this. Given that artificial sweeteners are a neurotoxin, I see no reason why they couldn't be a heart toxin...I did used to have some things with aspartame and I really regret that, I used to get diarrhea a lot so I reckon it doez odd things to muscle function. There's also the possibility that it could be the wood resin and emulsifiers in these drinks as those are in all of them and have been shown to cause diabetes. As far as I can tell diabetes is more an issue of fat metabolism than sugar; a food combining diet low in fats has shown promising results because it takes pressure off the liver which is always sluggish in diabetics...not a cure all necessarily but something to think about.

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