Soft drinks and sweetened beverages and the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Int J Clin Pract. 2016 Oct;70(10):791-805. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.12841. Epub 2016 Jul 25.


Background: Soft drink consumption is associated with adverse health behaviours that predispose to adverse cardiovascular risk factor profiles; however, it is unclear whether their intake independently leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular events and mortality. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate this.

Methods: Medline and EMBASE were searched in July 2015 for studies that considered soft drink intake and risk of mortality, myocardial infarction (MI) or stroke. Pooled risk ratios (RRs) for adverse outcomes were calculated using inverse variance with a random effects model, and heterogeneity was assessed using the I2 statistic.

Results: A total of seven prospective cohort studies with 308,420 participants (age range 34-75 years) were included in the review. The pooled results suggest a greater risk of stroke (RR 1.13, 95% CI 1.02-1.24), and MI (RR 1.22, 95% CI 1.14-1.30), but not vascular events with incremental increase in sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption. With incremental increase in artificially sweetened beverage (ASB) consumption, there was a greater risk of stroke (RR 1.08, 95% CI 1.03-1.14), but not vascular events or MI. In the evaluation of high vs. low SSB, there was a greater risk of MI (RR 1.19, 95% CI 1.09-1.31) but not stroke, vascular events or mortality. For ASB, there was a significantly greater risk of stroke (RR 1.14, 95% CI 1.04-1.26) and vascular events (RR 1.44, 95% CI 1.02-2.03) but not MI or mortality.

Conclusions: Our results suggest an association between consumption of sugar-sweetened and ASBs and cardiovascular risk, although consumption may be a surrogate for adverse health behaviours.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carbonated Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cohort Studies
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment