A study just presented at the American Stroke Assn.’s International Stroke Conference reported a link between the amount of diet soda someone drinks and the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
Here’s the outline of the study, which was started in 2003, and what it found:
A total of 2,564 people in the study were asked about their intake of sodas (among other questions) at the start of the study. After nine years, 559 cardiovascular events had occurred, and those who had reported drinking diet soda every day had a 60% higher rate of these events, which included various forms of stroke as well as heart attacks.
The scientists adjusted for certain factors, such as age, sex, race, smoking, exercise, alcohol and daily calories. When they added additional factors to do with heart disease risk, such as metabolic syndrome, the risk was still 48% higher for the daily-diet-soda-drinking group. (Metabolic syndrome is a group of factors that can include extra weight around the waist and the inability to efficiently process blood sugar.)
“If our results are confirmed with future studies, then it would suggest that diet soda may not be the optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages for protection against vascular outcomes,” noted the study lead author, Hannah Gardener of the University of Miami School of Medicine, in a release from the stroke association. She made that point also in news reports, such as one written up by WebMD.