Consumption of Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Heart Failure
Is consumption of sweetened beverages associated with risk of heart failure (HF)?
The study cohort was comprised of 42,400 men, 45-79 years of age, followed from 1998 through 2010. The study authors assessed the consumption of sweetened beverage utilizing a food frequency questionnaire. They identified incident events of HF through linkage to the Swedish National Patient Register and the Cause of Death Register. They utilized Cox regression analyses to investigate the association between sweetened beverage consumption and HF.
The study authors identified 4,113 HF events (3,604 first event HF hospitalizations and 509 HF deaths) during the mean follow-up time of 11.7 years (494,772 person-years). They 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% confidence interval, 1.12-1.35) compared to men who were nonconsumers.
The study authors concluded that sweetened beverage consumption is associated with higher risk of HF and this could have implications for HF prevention strategies. They opined that additional prospective studies investigating the link between sweetened beverage consumption and HF are therefore required.
The findings of this study are provocative in that the focus on incident HF has been on salt consumption. As with most good studies, these findings provoke more questions than answers. Is the incident HF due to ischemic cardiomyopathy or nonischemic cardiomyopathy? The other thought that comes to mind is whether consumption of sweetened beverages is simply a reflection of unhealthy eating habits and whether indeed these individuals were consuming salty snacks along with their sweetened beverages. As the authors point out, a well-designed prospective study is required to determine whether sugar intake is associated with incident HF.
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