Diet Soda May be Linked to Increased Stroke Risk

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A recent study conducted by Colombia University and the University of Miami Miller found those who consume regular amounts of diet soda have a 61% increased risk for strokes.

Over 2,500 subjects were evaluated for this study. Subjects represented various age, ethnic, and gender groups. Researchers considered smoking, alcohol and exercise habits for the study. The average age was 69. Participants reported how often and what type of soda consumed. Frequency options included none, one per month, six per week, or one or more daily. Subjects reported whether they drank regular soda only, diet soda only or a mixture of both.

Overall, after a nine year follow up, 559 strokes were reported. Researchers found that compared to drinking no soda at all, those who consumed regular amounts (one or more daily) of diet soda were 61% more likely to have a stroke. After researchers controlled for presence of metabolic syndrome and history of vascular and heart disease, a 48% increased risk remained.

Since the study conducted was a correlation study, there are no specific data to link one component of diet soda to stroke incidence. More studies are needed to make a definite connection between artificial sweetener in soda and strokes. Regardless, this study should remind us to use caution with artificial sweetener.

From a nutrition standpoint, soda in general is not a healthy product. The basic components are water, sugar, salt, carbonation and caffeine. While the water may appear to hydrate the drinker, the salt and caffeine are dehydrating. The sugar is unnecessary and leads to excessive calories and the carbonation prevents absorption of vitamins and minerals. Artificial sugars found in diet soda and other diet/low calorie products are typically man-made. The human body was designed to metabolize natural products like whole foods.

Sources: Planet Green.com

Related articles on the link between diet soda and health:
Can Diet Coke Kill You?
Can Diet Coke Kill You? part 2
Are Artificial Sweeteners Making Us Fat?

US News Health

Image Credit to Creative Commons User niallkennedy

  1. joal

    yesss SPREAD THIS AROUND!!!!!! everybody i know says Ohhhh yeah if i drink diet soda ill lose weight! I say its a no brainer. If you ingest genetically modified, magget feces, A.K.A artificial sweetener. Then yeah, COULDNT be good for you!

  2. Kim Galeaz, RD CD

    As a diet soda-drinking Registered Dietitian in terrific shape, I have quite a different perspective on diet soda, artificial sweeteners, caffeine and hydration.

    First, credible evidence-based scientific research has shown diet beverages/diet sodas (which are completely calorie-free don’t forget) are an effective choice to keep calories under control and maintain a healthy weight. In fact, some research has shown that people consuming diet beverages actually eat overall healthier diets.

    Second, credible, reputable and evidence-based research has repeatedly shown that artificial sweeteners are metabolized effectively in our bodies and are completely safe for use in foods and beverages. In fact, these sweeteners are some of the most thoroughly tested ingredients in our food supply and are approved for use in countries all around the globe.

    Third, as a registered dietitian relying on credible, evidence-based science for dietary recommendations, I’m perplexed with suggestions that salt and caffeine are dehydrating! When the Institute of Medicine released their new guidelines for water and hydration in 2004, they specifically indicated that caffeine is not dehydrating and ALL beverages, not just plain water, provide hydration.

    Lastly, I remind everyone that this particular stroke/soda research has NOT been published in a peer-reviewed journal. It was presented at a large meeting and as such has not undergone rigorous scientific peer-review scrutiny.

    Bottom line: A β€œpossible link” (links do not mean cause) in one study does not warrant changes in anyone’s diet-soda drinking behavior.

    Thank you.
    Kim Galeaz, RD CD
    Nutrition Culinary Consultant to food, agriculture and beverage companies including Coca-Cola

    1. Rachel Fox, RD

      I agree that credible, reputable and evidence-based research is needed to base dietary recommendations from. I stated in my article that since this was simply a correlation study and more studies were needed to confirm this β€œlink.” I, like you, do not believe that diet soda directly causes strokes. I do believe however that this study leaves us with something to think about: diet soda, and soda drinking in general may have adverse effects on our health.

      As a registered dietitian I feel it is my duty to provide sound nutrition advice to my patients and the public. Sound nutrition in my eyes is eating whole foods found only in nature. I feel everything we eat should hold nutritional value (including calories). I do not see the point in consuming something calorie free, such as diet soda, when it does not provide me with any nutritional benefits. A major problem in this country is media and large corporations continue to tell consumers processed foods and food-like products are healthy and worthwhile. I just see a bunch of $$$. The public needs to learn what real food is again.

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