Do sugary and artificially sweetened drinks increase the risk of cardiovascular disease?
After all, it seems that artificially sweetened drinks are no healthier than sugary drinks, as was thought in the past. Moreover, sugary and artificially sweetened beverages are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, according to new studies published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Research has shown that diets, including sugary drinks, can have a negative impact on cardio-metabolic health. Artificially sweetened drinks have been thought of as a healthier alternative, but their impact on cardiovascular health has not been studied enough. In this new study, researchers analyzed data from the French NutriNet-Santé cohort to investigate the relationship between the risk of cardiovascular disease and the consumption of sugary or artificially sweetened beverages.
Data from 104,760 participants were included for this study. Artificially sweetened beverages have been defined as those that contain non-nutritive sweeteners. Sugar drinks are all those that contain more than 5% sugar. For each category, participants were divided into non-consumers, low consumers and large consumers.
Thus, the researchers analyzed the first cases of cardiovascular disease in the follow-up period from 2009-2019, which were defined as: stroke, transient ischemic attack, myocardial infarction, acute coronary syndrome and angioplasty. After excluding the first three years of follow-up to explain the potential bias of reverse causation, 1,379 participants had the first incident cases of cardiovascular disease. Compared to non-consumers, both older consumers of sugary drinks and those of artificially sweetened drinks had higher risks of developing primary cardiovascular disease.
“Our study suggests that artificially sweetened beverages may not be a healthy substitute for sugary drinks, and these data provide additional arguments to support the current debate on taxes, labeling and regulation of sugary and artificially sweetened beverages,” he said. Chazelas Eloi, PhD student, lead author of the study and member of the nutritional epidemiology research team (Sorbonne University Paris Nord).
Dahna’s advice: eat artificially sweetened drinks in moderation and keep water, which is by far the healthiest, as the main way to hydrate.