New Study Links Sugary Beverages To Heart Failure

It's common knowledge that soda and other sweetened beverages contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and a host of other serious health issues. Soda taxes have been proposed or implemented, vending machines have been removed from school cafeterias, and countless studies condemning sugary beverages have been published. The latest in the body of evidence against soda consumption is a new study conducted at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. Their results are particularly incriminating, suggesting that men who drink two or more glasses of soda or other sweetened drinks a day have a greater risk of heart failure.

Click here for the 10 Reasons You Should Never Drink Soda slideshow.

Knowing that soda has been linked to several risk factors for heart failure, including high blood pressure and weight gain, the study's leader Susanna Larsson sought to further confirm the relationship. Over the course of 12 years, researchers followed a group of 42,000 men and assessed how many soft drinks or sweetened juices they consumed each day. By the study's conclusion, there were 3,600 new cases of heart failure. Those men who had two sugary drinks per day had a 23 percent greater risk of developing heart failure than men who did not consume those drinks.

While this study only suggests an association between soda consumption and heart failure, Larsson feels the results should be taken seriously. "The take-home message is that people who regularly drink sweetened beverages should consider reducing their consumption," Larsson told Reuters. Although the study only included men, studies show that women are also negatively impacted by sugary beverages and should watch their intake as well.

Heart failure is a serious condition that significantly reduces your quality of life and life expectancy. According to the CDC, half of the people who develop heart failure die within five years of diagnosis. Fortunately, there are several lifestyle changes that can drastically reduce your risk of developing heart disease, and later on, heart failure. In addition to cutting back on soda and drinking more water, these modifications include quitting smoking, staying physically active, and managing stress. Finally, it's important to maintain a healthy weight and reduce your consumption of fatty, salty foods. Instead, fill up on heart healthy fats, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.

The accompanying slideshow is provided by Daily Meal staff writer Dr. Verma.