Diet soda consumption indicates heart health risk

April 2, 2014

A study presented this week at the American College of Cardiology 63rd Annual Scientific Session demonstrates that healthy, older women who consume two or more “diet drinks” per day might face an elevated risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. Compared to those who drink none or minimal of such beverages, women who drink two or more daily are about 30% more likely to experience cardiovascular events and about 50% more likely to die of heart disease.

The study defines a “diet drink” as a diet soda or artificially-sweetened juice. Women were divided into those who drink two or more per day, five to seven per week, one to four per week, and zero to three per month-self-reported information that was reassessed in year three of the longitudinal study. The incidence of cardiovascular events, disease, and deaths was then assessed at an average interval of 8.7 years.

Adding credibility to these findings, the correlation between diet drink consumption and heart health risk remained even after researchers adjusted the data to account for other risk factors such as age, body mass index, and smoker status. This particular study applies only to postmenopausal women, but scientists have already confirmed a general association between diet drinks and weight gain in previous studies. More research is forthcoming on the health effects of diet sodas, as approximately 20% of Americans consume at least one diet beverage per day.

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