Consuming sugary drinks may increase stroke risk in women

November 1, 2012

A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that women who drink sugary soft drinks almost every day may have an increased risk for a stroke.

The researchers conducted a prospective study in 39,786 Japanese men and women ages 40–59 in which soft drink intake was determined by using a self-administered food-frequency questionnaire. Follow-up was from 1990 to 2008. The researchers split the participants into four groups: those who rarely drank soft drinks, those who had one to two cups a week, those who had three to four cups a week, and those who had a soft drink nearly every day. Soft drinks were considered sugar-sweetened sodas and juices, and not diet sodas or 100% fruit juices.

During 18 years of follow-up, there were 453 incident cases of ischemic heart disease (IHD) and 1922 cases of stroke, including 859 hemorrhagic and 1,047 ischemic strokes. The researchers found that women who drank soft drinks nearly every day were 83% more likely to have an ischemic stroke than women who rarely drink sodas and other sweetened beverages. The same did not hold true for men.

It should be noted that the findings don’t prove that sweet drinks are to blame for the higher stroke risk. The American Beverage Association (ABA), which represents soda and other soft drink makers, said the new research did not add much new information. “This study does nothing to educate people about the real causes of heart disease or heart health issues. It only shows what we already know to be among the risk factors for heart disease: ethnicity and age. There is nothing unique about soft drinks when it comes to heart disease, stroke, or any other adverse health outcomes.”


ABA statement