(HealthDay News) – For men, increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease, while artificially-sweetened beverages do not increase heart disease risk.

Lawrence de Koning, PhD, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues analyzed coronary heart disease risk in 42,883 male health professionals (40–75 years old) based on their self-reported intake of sugar-sweetened beverages. In addition, 18,225 men provided a blood sample.

During 22 years of follow-up, the researchers noted 3,683 cases of coronary heart disease. After adjusting for a number of factors, men whose intake of sugar-sweetened beverages were in the top quartile had a significantly higher risk of coronary heart disease compared with men in the lowest quartile (relative risk, 1.2). There was no significant association between intake of artificially-sweetened beverages and coronary heart disease. The associations were modified slightly by self-reported high cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Sugar-sweetened beverages were associated with adverse changes in lipids, inflammatory factors, and leptin.

“In conclusion, consumption of sugar-sweetened but not artificially-sweetened beverages was associated with a significantly increased risk of coronary heart disease,” de Koning and colleagues write.

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