Think Before You Drink: Study Shows Your Soda Habit May Be Putting Your Heart at Risk

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CHICAGO, IL – An extensive study that monitored over 200,000 individuals for nearly a decade has reportedly found a notable link between regular intake of well-known sugary and artificially sweetened drinks, such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and an increased likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation (AF), a common type of heart rhythm disorder. 

The research, published on March 5, 2024, in Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, highlights potential health concerns tied to everyday beverage choices.

According to the report, participants, who were free of AF at the study’s outset and had their genetic data on file, were observed over a median period of 9.9 years. Results showed that those who consumed more than two liters per week of sugary or diet beverages were at a heightened risk of AF, with hazard ratios (HR) of 1.10 for sugar-sweetened beverages and 1.20 for artificially sweetened beverages. Interestingly, a slight decrease in AF risk was observed for individuals who drank up to one liter per week of pure fruit juice, with an HR of 0.92.

Particularly striking were the findings for participants with a high genetic predisposition to AF: those consuming more than two liters per week of artificially sweetened beverages saw a risk increase to an HR of 3.51. In contrast, those at a low genetic risk who consumed small amounts of fruit juice exhibited the lowest risk, at an HR of 0.77.

This study underscores the significant impact beverage choices can have on the risk of developing heart rhythm disorders, regardless of genetic predisposition. It serves as a call to action for individuals to reconsider their consumption of sugary and diet drinks in favor of healthier alternatives.

For a more in-depth exploration of the study, including methodologies and funding sources, readers are directed to the supplemental material available on the journal’s website.

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