JUST two glasses of sweetened drinks a day increase the chances of deadly heart failure by almost a quarter, research shows.
Experts say that a couple of 200ml servings – roughly the equivalent to a standard bottle of pop – raises the risk by 23 per cent.
Sweetened soft drinks are already linked to killer conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
The risk is so great, they say, the best way to protect your health is to avoid them altogether.
The bombshell research is a fresh blow to an industry worth £16billion in the UK alone.
One of the world’s largest studies into the risks of fizzy drinks, it concluded: “Our findings suggest sweetened beverage consumption could contribute to heart failure development.”
But for the first time scientists have made an association between the beverages and heart failure.
The health of more than 42,000 men in Sweden were tracked between 1998 and 2010 and quizzed on the food and drink they consumed.
Fruit juice, sugary tea and coffee were not included in the definition and researchers did not distinguish between drinks sweetened with sugar and those containing artificial sweeteners.
The men, aged between 45 and 79 when they entered the study, were tracked for an average of 12 years by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
During that time 3,604 new cases of heart failure were diagnosed and 509 people died of their condition.
After taking into account factors that may influence the results, two servings of sweetened drinks was associated with a 23 per cent increased risk of developing heart failure compared with drinking none at all.
A deeper analysis, excluding those diagnosed with heart failure in the first five years, showed similar results with the associated heightened risk rising to 25 per cent.
Professor Simon Capewell, vice-president of the UK’s Faculty of Public Health, said: “This new study offers further evidence of the harms of sugary drinks.
“It is entirely consistent with growing scientific data that shows they raise blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes substantially.
“We have an obesity crisis and our children are drowning in a sea of calories.”
Heart failure – when heart muscle tissue dies and struggles to effectively pump blood round the body – affects more 500,000 people in the UK, mainly men and the elderly.
Only around half of those diagnosed are still alive five years later.
Obesity and diabetes already costs the UK more than £5billion a year.
Some experts claim that without regulation – some sort of controversial sugar tax – this will exceed £50billion by 2050.
Shocking statistics show the average Briton consumes the equivalent of 18-20 teaspoons of sugar every day, much of it found in breakfast cereals, microwaved meals, drinks and processed meats.
Commenting on the study, published in the journal Heart, Spanish professors Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez and Miguel Ruiz-Canela said: “The well-known association of sweetened beverages with obesity and Type 2 diabetes, which are risk factors for heart failure, reinforces the biological plausibility of the findings.
“The best message for a preventive strategy would be to recommend an occasional consumption of sweetened beverages or to avoid them altogether.”
In April this year a withering assessment of Britain’s obesity epidemic – 60 per cent of adults are overweight – described the PR tactics of the food industry as “chillingly similar to those of big tobacco”, which deployed denial, doubt and confusion to convince the public smoking was not linked to lung cancer.
As publicized in the http://www.express.co.uk