What Drinks Are Bad For Your Heart?

What Drinks Are Bad For Your Heart?

Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body. The choices you make every day can have a big impact on your heart health. This includes the beverages you drink. While most drinks are perfectly fine in moderation, there are some that can negatively affect your heart when consumed in large amounts. Understanding which drinks to limit or avoid altogether can go a long way in keeping your heart healthy and reducing your risk for heart disease.

Worst Drinks For Your Heart

Worst Drinks For Your Heart

Your beverage choices can have a significant impact on the health of your heart. While we often focus on eating nutritious foods, the drinks we consume day-to-day also affect our risk for heart disease. Certain drinks are quite harmful for cardiovascular health when drunk in excess. But which beverages are the worst offenders for your heart? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the drinks that are bad for your heart and why they can damage cardiovascular health over time. You may be surprised to learn that some popular drinks you're accustomed to can contribute to heart disease. By understanding which drinks to limit and why they are harmful, you can make simple swaps to protect your heart health for life.

Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks like soda, fruit punch, sports drinks, and energy drinks are among the worst drinks for your heart. They contain large amounts of added sugars, which have been linked to numerous health problems.
The added sugars in these drinks spike your blood sugar levels quickly. This leads to higher insulin levels, inflammation, and can damage blood vessels over time. Damaged blood vessels increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
A 2022 study found that drinking more than one sugary beverage per day increased the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20% compared to drinking less than one per day. Risk went up even more with higher intakes of sugary drinks.

Tips for reducing sugary drink intake

  • Choose water, unsweetened tea, or coffee instead of soda or fruit drinks.
  • Drink low-calorie sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit instead of sugar.
  • Dilute sugary drinks with seltzer or sparkling water.
  • Opt for small portion sizes or limit yourself to a certain number per week.

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar contain massive doses of caffeine along with sugars and other stimulants. Just one 8 oz can of Red Bull has around 80 mg of caffeine.
These excess stimulants can raise blood pressure and stress the heart. A review of multiple studies found that energy drink consumption was associated with increased blood pressure, changes in heart rhythm, and even rare cases of heart attacks or cardiovascular deaths.
It's best to avoid energy drinks altogether. But if you do consume them, limit yourself to no more than 16 oz per day and avoid mixing them with alcohol or medications.


Drinking alcohol excessively is well known to damage the heart. Binge drinking episodes can trigger irregular heart beats called arrhythmias. Over time, chronic heavy drinking can lead to alcoholic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart failure.
Moderate alcohol intake, defined as 1 drink or less per day for women and 2 drinks or less for men, does not seem to increase cardiovascular risks. But drinking any more than this modest amount can start harming the heart.

Ways to reduce alcohol intake for heart health

  • Set limits for yourself when drinking such as 2 per day or 10 per week.
  • Choose lower alcohol options like light beer or wine spritzers.
  • Avoid drinking games, shots, and binge drinking episodes.
  • Participate in “dry” months taking a break from alcohol.

Fruit Juices

Fruit juice seems like a healthy choice, given all that natural vitamin C. However, even with no added sugars, fruit juice is high in naturally occurring sugars.
A cup of apple juice contains approximately 24 grams of sugar. Grape juice has around 36 grams of sugar in a cup!
These natural fruit sugars can spike blood sugar and insulin levels, potentially leading to inflammation, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes over time...all major risk factors for heart disease.

Tips for drinking fruit juice more heart-healthy

  1. Stick to small 4-6 oz portion sizes.
  2. Dilute juice with water or seltzer.
  3. Choose lower sugar options like cranberry juice.
  4. Opt for whole fruits instead for fiber and nutrients.
  5. Limit juice to 1 small glass per day.

Diet Soda

There has been concern in recent years over potential heart risks with drinking artificially sweetened beverages like diet soda.
Early studies found associations between drinking diet soda and increased heart disease. However, newer research accounting for other lifestyle factors suggests the link may not be causal.
A 2022 study following over 100,000 people for 30 years found no increase in cardiovascular disease, stroke, or heart failure among those who drank 1-4 diet sodas per day compared to none.
While occasional diet soda is probably fine, water is the healthiest no-calorie drink option. Those with diabetes or obesity may benefit from limiting diet soda intake to avoid perpetuating cravings for sweet foods and drinks.


Coffee is a favorite drink for so many people to energize their day. But is our beloved coffee habit hurting our hearts?
Research suggests moderate coffee consumption is not linked with heart problems. In fact, some studies show coffee may reduce risks for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart failure.
However, coffee’s cardiovascular benefits reverse at very high intakes. Drinking more than 6 cups of coffee per day has been associated with increased cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart risks.
For heart benefits without risks, aim to drink no more than 3-4 8 oz cups of plain coffee per day. Avoid raising heart risks by limiting added cream, sugars, and flavorings.

Cold Brew & Nitro Coffee

Cold brew and nitro coffee have exploded in popularity recently. Are these icy coffee drinks any better or worse for your heart?
Cold brew and nitro coffee tend to be higher in caffeine compared to regular coffee. Excess caffeine intake can trigger heart palpitations in some people.
However, research has not found increased heart disease risks with higher coffee or caffeine consumption in the general population.
The milk and sweeteners added to cold brew and nitro coffee may be a concern, potentially negating some of coffee’s heart benefits. But when enjoyed black or with minimal add-ins, cold brew can be part of a heart healthy diet.

Kombucha & Kefir

Kombucha and kefir are fizzy, fermented beverages that have gained popularity in recent years for claimed “gut health” benefits. But what do they do for your heart?
Studies on kefir are limited, but research to date suggests kefir may:
  • Lower “bad” LDL cholesterol
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve blood sugar control
Likewise with kombucha, research is still emerging. However, evidence indicates kombucha may also provide:
  • Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Better LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Lower blood pressure
Thanks to living probiotics, kombucha and kefir offer cardiovascular benefits. However, they can be high in added sugars. Enjoy them in moderation or opt for low-sugar varieties. 8 oz per day is a good limit.

Protein & Pre-Workout Drinks

Many people down protein shakes after workouts to recover and build muscle. Pre-workout supplements also claim performance benefits. But are these gym drink staples harming the heart?
Research on popular protein powders like whey and casein suggests they can lower blood pressure and have anti-inflammatory effects. When used to replace high-calorie foods, protein drinks may aid heart health and weight management.
However, some pre-workout supplements contain stimulants like caffeine or creatine that may temporarily spike blood pressure. As with energy drinks, moderation is key.
Protein and pre-workout drinks are likely fine for the heart in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle. But they should not replace whole foods or exercise for long-term heart benefits.

Conclusion of  Bad Drinks For Your Heart

Your beverage choices definitely impact your risk for heart disease. Sugary drinks, alcohol, and fruit juice can all contribute to cardiovascular risks when consumed in excess. On the other hand, moderate coffee and tea intake may actually benefit the heart. Moderation is key for most drinks.
Keep your heart healthy by:
  • Avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Limiting alcohol intake to 1 drink a day or less
  • Drinking mostly water, ideally 2+ liters per day
  • Enjoying coffee, tea, kefir, kombucha, and moderate juice in limited amounts
Your daily beverage choices are one important part of maintaining a healthy heart alongside diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management. By making heart-smart drinking choices, you can reduce your risk for heart disease and related complications.