Diet Soda Linked to Increased Heart Disease Risk
The trouble with diet soda is simple enough. Amongst other things, it has been determined that any person consuming more than two diet drinks per day runs a greater risk for heart disease.
The Unhealthy Effects of Diet Soda
I prefaced the concern over the association between drinking diet soda and running a greater risk for heart disease with the words "amongst other things." Before we explore the potential for heart disease, let's take a quick look at those other things.
- Diet soda could be bad for your kidneys. An 11-year Harvard Medical School study found that women who drank more than two sodas per day experienecd a decline in kidney function.
- A 2008 University of Minnesota study of 10,000 adults found that drinking just one diet soda per day could be linked to a 34 percent greater risk for metabolic syndrome. Symptoms of metabolic syndrome include belly fat and high cholesterol that enhances heart disease risk.
- Despite the name on the can, diet soda does not help you lose weight. A University of Texas Health Science Center study found that the more diet soda a person consumes, the greater the risk for becoming overweight. Those who drink two or more cans daily can grow their waistlines by 500 percent. It is believed that people who drink diet soda may overeat because the artificial sweeteners trick the body into believing it is eating sugar and the ability to regulate calorie intake is disrupted.
The Link Between Diet Soda and Heart Disease
Now that we have taken a look at "other things," researchers additionally found that women who drank two or more diet drinks per day were 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack or some other cardiovascular mishap than women who seldom consumed diet beverages. It also was discovered that 50 percent of the diet beverage drinkers were more likely to die. The findings are to be presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology.
The interesting find in the study is that it is not the diet drinks themselves that are the killers. Rather, it is that women who drink too many diet sodas are doing so to try to make up for unhealthy habits.
Sixty thousand middle-aged women took part in a decade-long study of women's health. They filled out a questionnaire that included questions about diet soda and diet fruit drinks. Researchers followed up to check on the health of these women almost nine years later.
They found that 50 percent of the women who consumed two or more diet drinks daily had some kind of heart disease compared to 6.8 percent of women who drank four or less diet beverages per week. The women who drank the most drinks were also more likely to smoke, be overweight, and have diabetes or high blood pressure.
At this point, there is only an association between drinking two or more diet beverages per day and the increased risk for heart disease. More research is needed to better understand this possible link.
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