Our response to sweetened drinks and heart failure study

3 November 2015        

Sugary drinks illustration

Far more research is needed before we can conclusively say that drinking two fizzy drinks a day ‘significantly’ increases the risk of heart failure, according to our Senior Cardiac Nurse, Maureen Talbot. 

A study published today in the journal Heart looked at a potential association between heart failure and sweetened beverages. 

More than 42,000 men, between 45–79 years of age were questioned about how frequently they consumed certain foods and drinks between 1998 and 2010, including fizzy drinks sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners. They found that the men who drank at least two sweetened drinks a day were 23% more likely to have reported having heart failure. 

Maureen Talbot, our Senior Cardiac Nurse, said: “This study only goes so far as to demonstrate a positive association between sugary drinks consumption and the development of heart failure in white men, but it does not provide conclusive evidence that one leads to the other. As the authors of the study themselves highlight, more research is needed across a broader population before we can apply the findings fully.

Across all ages we are consuming more sugar than is recommended and sugar sweetened beverages are a key source that we need to be aware of. The most common cause for someone to experience heart failure is a heart attack due to coronary heart disease.  However, obesity is a risk factor for coronary heart disease and consuming a diet high in sugar is linked to an excess of energy, which in turn is associated with weight gain.

As part of our on-going work to stem the tide of childhood obesity and improve the heart health of the nation, we are currently campaigning for the Government to introduce a sugary drinks tax.

Our fight to cure heart failure

When you have heart failure, your heart cannot pump blood around your body as well as it needs to. This means the oxygen in your blood cannot reach the parts of your body where it's needed. In severe cases this can leave you disabled and gasping for breath.

Heart failure affects hundreds of thousands of people across the UK. Following a heart attack, your heart will suffer damage that can never be repaired. For patients diagnosed with severe heart failure, the chances of surviving for more than five years are worse than most forms of cancer. But through the research we fund we’re fighting back.