Background: Previous studies have linked full-calorie sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) with greater weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Objective: We prospectively examined the association between consumption of SSBs and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in women.
Design: Women (n = 88,520) from the Nurses' Health Study aged 34-59 y, without previously diagnosed coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, or diabetes in 1980, were followed from 1980 to 2004. Consumption of SSBs was derived from 7 repeated food-frequency questionnaires administered between 1980 and 2002. Relative risks (RRs) for CHD were calculated by using Cox proportional hazards models and adjusted for known cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Results: During 24 y of follow-up, we ascertained 3105 incident cases of CHD (nonfatal myocardial infarction and fatal CHD). After standard and dietary risk factors were adjusted for, the RRs (and 95% CIs) of CHD according to categories of cumulative average of SSB consumption (<1/mo, 1-4/mo, 2-6/wk, 1/d, and > or =2 servings/d) were 1.0, 0.96 (0.87, 1.06), 1.04 (0.95, 1.14), 1.23 (1.06, 1.43), and 1.35 (1.07, 1.69) (P for trend < 0.001). Additional adjustment for body mass index, energy intake, and incident diabetes attenuated the associations, but they remained significant. Artificially sweetened beverages were not associated with CHD.
Conclusion: Regular consumption of SSBs is associated with a higher risk of CHD in women, even after other unhealthful lifestyle or dietary factors are accounted for.