METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study of 22,210 adult men and women who underwent a comprehensive health screening examination between 2011 and 2013 (median age 40 years). Sugar-sweetened carbonated beverage consumption was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire, and CAC was measured by cardiac computed tomography. Multivariable-adjusted CAC score ratios and 95% CIs were estimated from robust Tobit regression models for the natural logarithm (CAC score +1).
RESULTS: The prevalence of detectable CAC (CAC score >0) was 11.7% (n = 2,604). After adjustment for age; sex; center; year of screening examination; education level; physical activity; smoking; alcohol intake; family history of cardiovascular disease; history of hypertension; history of hypercholesterolemia; and intake of total energy, fruits, vegetables, and red and processed meats, only the highest category of sugar-sweetened carbonated beverage consumption was associated with an increased CAC score compared with the lowest consumption category. The multivariable-adjusted CAC ratio comparing participants who consumed ≥5 sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages per week with nondrinkers was 1.70 (95% CI, 1.03-2.81). This association did not differ by clinical subgroup, including participants at low cardiovascular risk.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that high levels of sugar-sweetened carbonated beverage consumption are associated with a higher prevalence and degree of CAC in asymptomatic adults without a history of cardiovascular disease, cancer, or diabetes.