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Diet drinks are linked to an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, study suggests

March 5, 2024 – People who drink 2 liters or more of artificially sweetened beverages per week increase their risk of the center disease atrial fibrillation by 20% in comparison with individuals who didn't drink artificially sweetened beverages, in keeping with a brand new study.

The study, published within the journal Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, also found that individuals who drank 2 liters (about 67 ounces) or more of sugary drinks per week had a ten% higher risk of atrial fibrillation. People who drank 1 liter or less of pure fruit juice each week had an 8% lower risk of atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation, sometimes called atrial fibrillation or arrhythmia, is a shaky, fluttering heartbeat attributable to faulty electrical signals in the center. The abnormal rhythm prevents the center from pumping properly and increases the chance of stroke and other heart problems.

Researchers examined health records of about 202,000 people within the UK Biobank, a biomedical database for individuals who received medical care from Britain's National Health Service. The people they examined were 45% male and between the ages of 37 and 73. During a follow-up period of 10 years, the researchers found 9,362 cases of atrial fibrillation amongst them.

Those who consumed more artificially sweetened drinks were more prone to be female, younger, weigh more and have type 2 diabetes. Those who consumed more sugary drinks were more prone to be male, younger, weigh more, have heart disease and have lower socioeconomic status.

The study found a link between eating regimen drinks and atrial fibrillation, but didn't confirm that the drinks caused atrial fibrillation.

“However, based on these findings, we recommend reducing or even avoiding artificially sweetened and sugar-sweetened drinks if possible. “Don’t assume that drinking low-sugar, low-calorie, artificially sweetened beverages is healthy; it may pose potential health risks,” said Ningjian Wang, MD, PhD, lead creator of the study and a researcher at Shanghai Ninth People’s Hospital and Shanghai The Medical Faculty at Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China, said in a Press release from the American Heart Association concerning the study.

Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, a member of the American Heart Association's nutrition committee, who was not involved within the research, said that is the primary study to point out a link between these kinds of drinks and the next risk of atrial fibrillation.

She called for more research on the subject, noting that “water is now the best choice and that, based on this study, no-calorie and low-calorie sweetened beverages should be limited or avoided.”