Soda is linked to heart failure in a new study that raises questions about whether sugar, as well as artificial sweeteners, can be deadly. Those sweetened, bubbly beverages can seem so tempting when it comes to quenching your thirst. But new warnings are coming from researchers who examined the consumption of soda in men for more than a decade and found that those who drank two or more soft drinks or sodas daily had an increased risk of heart failure, reported CNN.
The study write-up described how researchers tracked the diets of 42,000 Swedish men for more than 12 years. After analyzing the data, they discovered that the research participants who consumed two or more artificially sweetened or sugar-sweetened sodas daily boosted their risk of heart failure by 23 percent. The study co-author emphasized that one way to lower the risk of heart failure, therefore, is simple. Break that sugary beverage addiction.
“The takeaway message is that people who regularly consume sweetened beverages should consider limiting their consumption to reduce their risk of heart failure,” stated Dr. Susanna Larsson of the Stockholm Karolinska Institutet, who co-authored the soda and heart failure study.
If you think that heart failure can’t happen to you, the statistics indicate otherwise. Almost six million residents in the nation suffer from heart failure. The condition is caused when the heart is too weak to get enough oxygen and blood to the body.
“It’s a very miserable life,” emphasized Dr. Roberto Bolli, chief of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. “Patients with heart failure are severely limited in their ability to perform daily tasks, they get short of breath for even small efforts like walking one block, or sometimes even walking inside their house.”
To conduct the research, study leaders questioned the men specifically about their weekly consumption of soft drinks or beverages that were sweetened with sugar or sugar substitute. The researchers excluded fruit juice, coffee, and tea.
The new heart failure research complements other studies showing that drinking beverages that are sweetened boosts the risk of stroke and heart disease. However, this is the first study to focus on heart failure.
How severe is heart failure? The Heart Failure Society of America lists the grim statistics and risks.
“Less than 50 percent of patients are living five years after their initial diagnosis and less than 25 percent are alive at 10 years. Heart failure risks include high blood pressure [and] diabetes.”
Other factors that increase the risk include an enlarged heart, previous heart attack, and family history.
And when it comes to the question of whether sugar alone can be deadly, a separate study has associated sugar with both diabetes and heart disease in children, reported the Wall Street Journal.
To determine the impact of sugar versus too many calories, researchers worked with more than 40 children and teens to exclude products that contained additional sugar for a period of nine days. To replace their beloved sweetened cereals, cookies, sodas, and similar goodies, the study leaders provided the 43 kids with no-sugar products ranging from baked potato chips to pizza, all of which had starch rather than the sweet stuff.
Representing the University of California, San Francisco, and Touro University California, the researchers discovered an association between heart disease and diabetes in children with sugar. The participants in their study were drawn from an obesity clinic at UCSF, and all of them had symptoms related to metabolic syndrome, which in turn can result in diabetes.
By giving the patients the dietary changes, the percentage of sugar that they consumed dropped from 28 to 10 percent of their total calories. In just nine days, the children experienced a dramatic improvement.
“We reversed virtually every aspect of their metabolic syndrome,” revealed Robert Lustig.
A pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco who served as the lead author emphasized that some of the results from the study were impressive, such as the children’s triglyceride readings. He has become known for his extensive work in linking sugar to the epidemic of obesity.
And statistics show that Dr. Lustig and those on his side are succeeding in making more consumers aware of the potential hazards on consuming sugar. More than 70 percent of U.S. individuals responding to a recent study expressed concern about how much sugar they ate.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]