Diet drinks linked to greater risk for heart attack, stroke
PEOPLE who regularly have two or more diet soft drinks a day could be up to 50 per cent more likely to die from heart disease, a new study has shown.
Artificially sweetened fizzy drinks, though marketed as a viable healthy alternative, were linked to a host of health problems including strokes and heart attacks.
Compared to those who never or rarely consume the drinks, regular users were 30 per cent more likely to suffer what was described as a "cardiovascular event".
Experts analysed the diet drink intake of almost 60,000 participants in the women's health iInitiative, a long-running US study looking at cardiovascular health among middle-aged women.
And while their statistics were taken from an impressively large sample size, the scientists stressed that they could only prove an "association" between health problems and diet drink intake - not a direct causal link.
"Our findings are in line with and extend data from previous studies showing an association between diet drinks and metabolic syndrome," said Dr Ankur Vyas, of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, lead investigator of the study.
The syndrome is associated with a cluster of risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and weight gain.
The results of the study were presented at the annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology, in Washington.