More bad news for carbonated corn syrup lovers. The American Heart Association released new research results showing a link between consuming sugary drinks — like soda, fruit juice, and other artificially sweetened beverages — and an increased risk of death from heart disease.

The study, led by Jean Welsh, professor at Emory University, looked at data from 17,930 adults aged 45 and older over a six year time period. Participants had no previous history of heart disease, stroke or diabetes.

What they found was alarming.

Study participants who drank 24 ounces or more — that’s about two cans of soda — had twice the risk of dying from coronary artery disease than those who averaged less than one ounce per day.

Even when controlling for other factors such as race, income, education, activity levels and smoking habits, the risk of death by coronary disease was still double that of non-sugary beverage drinkers. The researchers say that while the study does not show a cause and effect, it does show a clear trend.

Several studies have been able to show an association between added sugar and obesity or diabetes, but few have looked at the direct association between increased sugar and death.

Sugary foods were not shown to carry the same risk as sugary beverages. One possible explanation is that the body metabolizes solid sugars differently, or that the other nutrients in solid foods like fat and protein, change the outcome.

If you’re still a soda drinker, this bad news may not come as much of a shock for you, but if you had switched your habit to sweet iced tea, fruit juice, or any other sweetened beverage, you’re going to have to adjust again. The best thing you can reach from when you feel a thirst coming on is plain old H2O. And if you want a bit of flavor with your water, opt for a squirt of lemon or a few cucumber slices. Similarly, black coffee and unsweetened iced tea are also considered in the safe zone.

(h/t Medical Press)

Also see, What common cravings say about your health.

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.