Sugar-sweetened beverages, vascular risk factors and events: a systematic literature review

Public Health Nutr. 2015 May;18(7):1145-54. doi: 10.1017/S1368980014002122. Epub 2014 Oct 17.


Objective: A high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) has been linked to weight gain, obesity and type 2 diabetes; however, the influence on CVD risk remains unclear. Therefore, our objective was to summarize current evidence for an association between SSB consumption and cardiovascular risk factors and events.

Design: The article search was performed in August 2013. Two independent researchers performed the article search and selection, data extraction and quality assessment. Eligible studies reported the intake of SSB and one of the following outcomes: change in blood pressure, blood lipid or blood sugar, or CVD events such as stroke or myocardial infarction. Only intervention and longitudinal studies were included.

Subjects: Only studies in adults (aged 18+ years old) were considered.

Results: Two of four prospective studies found clear direct associations between SSB consumption and CHD, while two of three studies, including both men and women, found direct associations between SSB consumption and stroke; however, the association was significant among women only. All included studies examining vascular risk factors found direct associations between SSB consumption and change in blood pressure, blood lipid or blood sugar.

Conclusions: The reviewed studies generally showed that SSB intake was related to vascular risk factors, whereas associations with vascular events were less consistent. Due to a limited number of published papers, especially regarding vascular events, the strength of the evidence is still limited and hence more studies are needed before firm conclusions can be made.

Keywords: Review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Coronary Disease / blood
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology
  • Coronary Disease / etiology
  • Dietary Sucrose / adverse effects*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Female
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / etiology
  • Hyperglycemia / physiopathology
  • Hyperlipidemias / etiology
  • Hyperlipidemias / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Stroke / blood
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Vascular Diseases / blood
  • Vascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Vascular Diseases / etiology*


  • Dietary Sucrose
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup