If you can’t go a day without a diet drink or two, you need to read this…

Put the soda can down. Among post-menopausal women, drinking multiple diet drinks daily was associated with an increase in the risk of having a stroke caused by a blocked artery, especially small arteries.

This is according to research published in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association.

Dangers of drinking two or more diet drinks a day

Compared with women who consumed diet drinks less than once a week or not at all, women who consumed two or more artificially sweetened beverages per day were..

  • 23 percent more likely to have a stroke
  • 31 percent more likely to have a clot-caused (ischemic) stroke
  • 29 percent more likely to develop heart disease (fatal or non-fatal heart attack)
  • 16 percent more likely to die from any cause

Could diet soda damage your brain?

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Women with the highest risks

Researchers found that risks were higher for certain women. Heavy intake of diet drinks, defined as two or more times daily, more than doubled stroke risk in:

  • Women without previous heart disease or diabetes, who were 2,44 times as likely to have a common type of stroke caused by blockage of one of the very small arteries within the brain
  • Obese women without previous heart disease or diabetes, who were 2,03 times as likely to have a clot-caused stroke
  • African-American women without previous heart disease or diabetes, who were 3,93 times as likely to have a clot-caused stroke

“Many well-meaning people, especially those who are overweight or obese, drink low-calorie sweetened drinks to cut calories in their diet. Our research and other observational studies have shown that artificially sweetened beverages may not be harmless and high consumption is associated with a higher risk of stroke and heart disease,” says lead study author Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Ph.D.

Mossavar-Rahmani is the associate professor of clinical epidemiology and population health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.

Study: Diet soda increases belly fat

Over 80 000 women studied

Researchers analysed data on 81 714 post-menopausal women (age 50-79 years at the start) participating in the Women’s Health Initiative study that tracked health outcomes for an average of 11,9 years after they enrolled between 1993 and 1998.

At their three-year evaluation, the women reported how often in the previous three months they had consumed diet drinks such as low calorie, artificially sweetened colas, sodas and fruit drinks.

The results were obtained after adjusting for various stroke risk factors such as age, high blood pressure, and smoking.

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.

“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,” says Mossavar-Rahmani.

So, until we know more, try switching that diet drink for water.

Source: American Heart Association via www.sciencedaily.com

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.