A Swedish study found that men who consume more than 400 ml of sugary drinks per day, have a 23% increase in the risk of heart disease compared to men who never or rarely consume these drinks. 42,000 Swedish men completed a food questionnaire in 1998. An observational study was carried out during a 12 year follow up to look for a correlation between the consumptions of sugary drinks and the development of heart disease. Especially so called ‘sports drinks’ are not as healthy as you might think they are. A500 ml bottle contains 17.5 g of sugar on average. Participants were also asked about confounding factors such as diabetes, hypertension, family history and smoking. The effects of these confounds were ruled out as much as possible.
Sugary drinks and other sweet products were already known to have a bad influence on our health. The correlation between development of diabetes type 2 and sugar consumption, for example, has been pointed out earlier. Prevention of heart disease could be more efficient with knowledge of this significant correlation between sweetened beverages and heart disease. Sugary drinks are consumed on a huge scale, especially by the young. It is important to create awareness of the health risks among patients, especially those who already are at risk for heart disease.
The observed population size and long follow up period makes this study quite reliable. However, the investigators acknowledged some limitations of their conclusion. First of all, only men were observed, so nothing can be said about the risk for women. Secondly, only Swedish people were observed for this research, who have a different diet than people from other countries. A third example is that changes in behavior or diet during the follow up period have not been taken into account.