How many of us have opted for a diet soda when we are watching our calorie intake?
Surely it is a better option than the ‘full fat’ version, right?
What easier way to make a healthy substitution than to switch to a sugar-free, zero calorie beverage?
I think that most of us know that this is not really the whole story. Nobody really loses weight by drinking diet soda. But the truth behind diet soda is far more sinister than you might realise, as has been illustrated by a recent study.
A soda is a carbonated beverage, and a diet version is the description given to those that are not sweetened with sugar. Rather they are made with artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, cyclamate and sucralose. Many popular brands of soda offer a ‘diet’ or ‘lite’ version.
A large study of 60,000 women, presented in December 2014, found a link between diet drinks and heart attacks and stokes in healthy, postmenopausal women.
We aimed to evaluate the relationship between diet drink intake and cardiovascular events. We conducted a retrospective cohort study, utilizing data from the national, multicenter Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, recruiting subjects from 1993 to 1998.
Post-menopausal women with available diet drink intake data, without pre-existing cardiovascular disease were included in the study.
A composite of incident coronary heart disease, heart failure, myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization procedure, ischemic stroke, peripheral arterial disease and cardiovascular death was used as the primary outcome. Cardiovascular death and all-cause mortality were secondary outcomes.
The serving size measured was a 12 ounce serving of diet soda. The group of women was separated into four segments. Those who drank 2 or more diet drinks per day, 5-7 per week, 1-4 per week and 0-3 per month. The participants self reported on their consumption, and a follow up summary was conducted after 9 years. They took into account demographic conditions such as genetics, weight, smoking and also sugar sweetened soda intake.
The outcome was that women who consumed two or more diet drinks a day are 30 percent more likely to experience a cardiovascular event, and 50 percent more likely to die from a related disease.
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