Sweetened beverages are omnipresent in our daily lives. It is almost impossible to even buy something as uncomplicated as orange juice without acquiring a sugar rush of epic proportions shortly after. Soda, juice, sports drinks, and overly creative lattes at your local coffee shop all offer up a considerable dose of sugar.
Even if you have serious cravings for these sugary drinks, kicking your sweetened beverage addiction may be the healthiest and safest thing you can do.
Research published this month in the journal Heart examining “cardiac risk factors and prevention” found that sugary, sweetened beverages, artificial or otherwise, may significantly shorten your life or quality thereof. Researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, analysed the diet and health of 42,400 male participants between the ages of 45 and 79 for a period of 12 years.
Researchers focused on what the men ate and drank during the duration of the study, including their intake of sweetened beverages. The results of the study were staggering, with 4,113 of the male participants developing heart failure, from which 509 died. The study concluded that men who drink at least two servings of a sweetened beverage (sugar, artificial sweeteners, fructose, and/or glucose) per day have a 23 percent increased risk for heart failure.
This study comes one month after researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health published their findings on the dangers of fructose in sweetened beverages in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2015). The Harvard Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology found that one to two sweetened beverages may increase your risk of heart attack by 35 percent, type 2 diabetes by 26 percent, and stroke by 16 percent.
Approximately 5.1 million Americans are living with heart failure, and roughly half will die from it within five years of diagnosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Heart failure is an extremely grave disease that diminishes your quality of life and increases your mortality risk by 50 percent. The American Heart Association (AHA) states, “Heart failure, sometimes called congestive heart failure, means the heart isn’t pumping blood as well as it should. The heart keeps working, but the body’s need for blood and oxygen isn’t being met.”
A few of the myriad risk factors for heart failure include coronary heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Consuming sweetened beverages in high amounts has been researched extensively; however, 14 ounces, or two serving sizes, is not much sweetened beverage when you examine daily consumption more closely. A can of soda is 12 ounces, and a “Venti” coffee filled with artificial flavors and sweeteners at Starbucks is 20 ounces.
It appears that far surpassing the two servings of sweetened beverages that increase your risk for heart failure by 23 percent is pretty simple to accomplish. This, among other risk factors for heart disease, can be averted by substituting healthier options in place of sweetened beverages. Water with a little lime, squeezing your own fruit juice, and eliminating sports drinks high in sugar and artificial flavors are all exceptional alternatives.