Health Care

Diet drinks ‘raise fizzical threat of an early death’

Diet drinks ‘raise fizzical threat of an early death’”

If you love diet soda, there's a bad news for you.

Women who drank two or more artificially sweetened drinks had a 23% higher risk of strokes in general, and a 31% higher risk of strokes involving clotting in smaller blood vessels in the brain. While this study identifies an association between diet drinks and stroke, it does not prove cause and effect because it was an observational study based on self-reported information about diet drink consumption.

Further analysis showed that some groups of women were most at risk, with those drinking two or more diet drinks a day who were also obese having more than double the stroke risk.

The study authors pointed out that the American Heart Association (AHA) has recently underscored the lack of sufficient research into the cardiovascular impact of diet sodas. The risk of early death among diet drink consumers is 16 percent more than those who do not take such drinks, the study reveals.

She says that more studies need to be done to tease apart which artificial sweeteners might be more or less associated with stroke, and to track more closely how long people drink diet beverages before their risk starts to rise. A single serving of a diet drink was taken to be 355 ml write the researchers.

And African-American women also had a higher risk of stroke.

"What is it about these diet drinks?" asked lead study author Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, an associate professor of clinical epidemiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

"We don't know specifically what types of artificially sweetened beverages they were consuming, so we don't know which artificial sweeteners may be harmful and which may be harmless", Mossavar-Rahmani said.

The results in post-menopausal women may not be generalisable to men or younger women. The Association recognizes diet drinks may help replace high calorie, sugary beverages, but recommends water (plain, carbonated and unsweetened flavored) as the best choice for a no calorie drink.

"If they replace other drinks, such as milk and 100 percent fruit or vegetable drinks, then these women miss out on valuable nutrition for protecting the heart and vascular system", Sandon warned.

Professor Rachel Johnson, of the University of Vermont, said "limiting use" of diet drinks was "the most prudent thing to do for your health". These sweeteners haven't been studied enough yet to provide definitive answers, but work in animals suggests that compounds like saccharin and aspartame may compromise the body's ability to break down glucose properly, and impaired glucose control can lead to diabetes, a risk factor for heart disease and circulatory problems like stroke.

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