Sugary drinks and artificially sweetened beverages are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, finds a new large study from France. The finding suggests that artificially sweetened beverages may not be the healthy alternative they are often claimed to be.
Research has shown that diets including sugary beverages can have a negative impact on cardio-metabolic health. Artificially sweetened drinks have been suggested as a healthier alternative, but their impact on cardiovascular health is not fully known.
For this study, researchers looked at data from the French NutriNet-Santé to investigate the relationship between the risk of cardiovascular disease and consuming sugary drinks and artificially sweetened drinks.
About the study
104,760 participants were asked to fill out three web-based 24-hour dietary records every six months. For each beverage category, participants were divided into non-consumers, low consumers and high consumers.
Researchers looked at first time cases of cardiovascular disease over 10 years, which were defined as stroke, heart attack, acute coronary syndrome and angioplasty.
Compared to non-consumers, both higher consumers of sugary drinks and of artificially sweetened beverages had higher risks of first time cardiovascular disease, after taking into account a wide range of risk factors.
In addition to a higher risk of heart health issues, the lead researcher said the study may have further regulatory implications.
The study suggests that artificially sweetened beverages may not be a healthy substitute for sugar drinks, and these data provide additional arguments to fuel the current debate on taxes, labeling and regulation of sugary drinks and artificially sweetened beverages.
Source: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, October 2020.
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