(CNN)Even one serving daily of a sugary soft drink is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Gulping down 1 or more sugary drinks a day could put you at risk for cardiovascular disease
That's according to a new study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
In the study, researchers cataloged answers from about 106,000 women who filled out a food questionnaire. The survey included questions about how often they drank sweetened beverages, including sodas, sports drinks and sweetened bottled waters.
The participants, whose average age was 52, hadn't been diagnosed with heart disease, stroke or diabetes when they entered the study. Based on follow-ups over two decades, however, many began to show signs of those conditions.
The researchers concluded that drinking one or more sugary beverages each day was associated with a nearly 20% greater likelihood of having a cardiovascular disease, when compared with women who either didn't drink or rarely drank sugary beverages.
Those who consumed fruit drinks with sugar added on a daily basis had a 42% greater likelihood of experiencing cardiovascular disease compared with those who didn't drink sugary beverages at all. (The study's definition of "fruit drink" excluded fruit juices and only included flavored fruity drinks in which sugar was added.)
Frequent soda drinkers had less risk, clocking in at a 23% greater likelihood for cardiovascular disease overall.
The American Heart Association recommends that women try to limit their added sugar intake to no more than 100 calories daily, or 25 grams. Men shouldn't have more than 150 calories, or 38 grams.
"We hypothesize that sugar may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases in several ways," said lead author Cheryl Anderson, a professor of family and public health at University of California San Diego.
"It raises glucose levels and insulin concentrations in the blood, which may increase appetite and lead to obesity, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease."
She noted that excessive sugar is associated with inflammation, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.