Study points to association between carbonated drinks and heart attacks

02 September 2015 - 12:44 By AFP Relaxnews

Limiting consumption of carbonated beverages could be beneficial for health according to a study involving 800,000 patients that associated the bubbly drinks with out-of-hospital cardiac arrests of cardiac origin.

It's not the first study to find fault with soft drinks, as epidemiological research has shown positive correlations between them and the occurrence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke, according to principal investigator Professor Keijiro Saku of Fukuoka University in Japan.

"Carbonated beverages, or sodas, have frequently been demonstrated to increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and CVD, such as subclinical cardiac remodeling and stroke," says Professor Saku. "However, until now the association between drinking large amounts of carbonated beverages and fatal CVD, or out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) of cardiac origin, was unclear."

In the study, the researchers adjusted incidence of OHCAs for age and compared it to data on individuals' beverage consumption between 2005 and 2011 throughout the 47 prefectures of Japan.

Data came from a total of 797,422 participants who had undergone OCHAs of both cardiac and non-cardiac origins, and data on beverage consumption was sourced from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan, who used how much people spent on beverages as a proxy measure.

Researchers focused on 785,591 OHCA cases in which patients received resuscitation, 435,064, or 55.4% of which were of cardiac origin and 350,527 or 44.6 percent were of non-cardiac origin.

Incidences of non-cardiac origin included cerebrovascular disease, which counted for 4.8% of cases, respiratory disease at 6.1 percent, malignant tumors at 3.5% and exogenous disease at 18.9%. 

"Our data on carbonated beverage consumption is based on expenditure and the association with OHCA is not causal," says Professor Saku. "But the findings do indicate that limiting consumption of carbonated beverages could be beneficial for health."

Consumer expenditures on carbonated drinks had a significant association with OHCAs of cardiac origin, but this was not the case regarding OHCAs of non-cardiac origin.

Expenditures on flat beverages from milk to mineral water, to tea, coffee, cocoa and fruit juice were not significantly associated with OHCAs of cardiac origin.

"Carbonated beverage consumption was significantly and positively associated with OHCAs of cardiac origin in Japan, indicating that beverage habits may have an impact on fatal CVD," says Professor Saku. "The acid in carbonated beverages might play an important role in this association."

The study was presented Tuesday at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in London.