Research: Sugary Sodas Linked Again to Heart Disease Risk


Sugary Sweetened Sodas Linked Increased Heart Disease Risk



There is almost nothing more American than an ice cold Coke on a hot and sunny day.  It is not only iconic, but it is also very effective at quenching one’s thirst.  I remember going to football games with my father as a child.  We would go to a small mom and pop steak and provolone grill in Morgantown, WV.  The high light of the visit was an ice cold Coke in the glass deposit bottles.  I would never have guessed it was bad for you.  The problem is the sugar is truly terrible for you and who would drink one if you knew that it might increase your risk of dying prematurely of coronary artery disease.  Based on recent research, soda does just that: a hazard to your health.   The researchers used the data from the REGARDS study that looked at strokes[1].  It was an observational study so a link and not cause is what can be determined.  The subjects were nearly 18,000 black and white over the age of 45 after they screened out patients with heart disease.  The data was collected with a questionnaire to look for trends in the population.  They found that as little as two cans of soda or 24 ounces daily can be linked to increased heart disease when compared to this that averages less than 1 ounce per day.    The same correlation was not found when they looked at other sources of sugar.  

Prior studies have shown a link between consumption of sugar-sweetened products and diabetes type 2, heart disease, and obesity and some chronic diseases[2],[3].  None have looked at the association between added sugar and the risk of death.  All of them have been observational.

The bottom line:  Sugar-sweetened beverages appear to be an independent risk for heart disease.  More research is needed to confirm causality, but at a time when many of us are trying to lose weight and be more healthy, there is no place for sugar-sweetened beverages.  If you find soda a difficult part to cut out of your daily routine, use this as motivation to quit or cut back.  


“Drinking sugary drinks may be associated with greater risk of death,” EurekAlert!, 28-Mar-2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 11-Apr-2018]
Q. Yang, Z. Zhang, E. W. Gregg, W. D. Flanders, R. Merritt, and F. B. Hu, “Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults,” J, vol. 174, no. 4, p. 516, Apr. 2014 [Online]. Available: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13563″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>
F. Hu and V. Malik, “Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes: Epidemiologic evidence,” Physiol Behav, vol. 100, no. 1, pp. 47–54, Feb. 2010. [PMC]
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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