Sugary and artificially sweetened beverages are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, suggesting that artificially sweetened beverages may not be the healthy alternative that is often claimed, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Research has shown that diets containing sugar-sweetened drinks can adversely affect cardio-metabolic health. Artificially sweetened drinks have been suggested as a healthier alternative, but their effects on cardiovascular health are not fully understood. In this article, the researchers examined data from the French NutriNet-Santé cohort to examine the association between risk of cardiovascular disease and consumption of sugary drinks and artificial sweetening.
Records were set for 104,760 participants. They were asked to complete three 24-hour validated web-based nutrition reports every six months. Artificially sweetened beverages were defined as those that contained non-nutritious sweeteners. Sugar drinks consisted of all drinks containing 5% or more sugar. For each beverage category, participants were divided into non-consumers, low consumers and high consumers.
The researchers examined the first cases of cardiovascular disease during the follow-up period 2009 to 2019, defined as stroke, transient ischemic attack, myocardial infarction, acute coronary syndrome, and angioplasty. After excluding the first three years of the follow-up examination to consider a possible reverse bias, cases of cardiovascular disease occurred for the first time in 1,379 participants. Compared to non-consumers, higher consumers of sugary and artificially sweetened drinks had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease after considering a large number of confounding factors.
In addition to having a higher risk of heart health problems, Eloi Chazelas, Ph.D. The student, lead author of the study and a member of the nutritional epidemiology research team (Sorbonne University Paris Nord, Inserm, Inrae, Cnam) said the study could have further regulatory implications.
“Our study suggests that artificially sweetened drinks may not be a healthy substitute for sugary drinks. These data provide additional arguments to fuel the current debate on taxation, labeling and regulation of sugary drinks and artificial sweetening, ”said Chazelas.
Researchers said that a causal link between sugary drinks and artificial sweetening and cardiovascular disease, duplication in large prospective cohorts, and mechanistic studies will be needed.
American College of Cardiology.