Artificially Sweetened Drinks Linked to Increased AF Risk


  • The population-based cohort study looked at the associations of sugar-sweetened beverages, artificial sweetened beverages, and pure fruit juice consumption with the risk for incident AF and evaluated whether genetic susceptibility modifies these associations.
  • The authors analyzed data from the UK Biobank on 201,856 participants who were free of baseline AF, had genetic data available, and completed a 24-hour diet questionnaire. The diagnosis of AF was obtained by linkage from primary care, hospital inpatient, and death register records.
  • The results were adjusted for a wide range of potential confounders including age, sex, ethnicity, education level, socioeconomic status, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity level, sleep duration, body mass index, blood pressure, kidney function, sleep apnea, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and the use of lipid-lowering or antihypertensive medication.


  • During a median follow-up of 9.9 years, 9362 incident AF cases were documented.
  • Compared with nonconsumers, individuals who consumed more than 2 L per week of artificially sweetened beverages had a 20% increased risk of developing AF (hazard ratio [HR], 1.20; 95% CI, 1.10-1.31).
  • Those who drank more than 2 L per week of sugar-sweetened beverages had a 10% increased risk for AF (HR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.01-1.20).
  • Consumption of 1 L or less per week of pure fruit juice was associated with an 8% lower risk of developing AF (HR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.87-0.97).
  • The associations persisted after adjustment for genetic susceptibility for AF.


The study authors concluded that this study does not demonstrate that consumption of sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened beverages alters AF risk but rather that the consumption of these drinks may predict AF risk beyond traditional risk factors. They added that intervention studies and basic research are warranted to confirm whether the observed associations are causal.