Put the Diet Coke down! According to a new study by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, drinking two or more of any kind of artificially sweetened drinks a day is linked to increased risk of heart attacks, clot-based strokes, and early death in people over 50.
In April 2017, researchers tested 2,888 adults older than 45 and 1,484 adults older than 60. Participants were asked to answer questions about their drinking and eating habits at three separate points during a seven-year period. Then, for the next 10 years, researchers kept tabs on participants noting which of them had suffered a stroke or developed dementia. A little harsh there, but science is science.
Medical expert focused on cardiovascular disease and the most common types of stroke such as ischemic stroke. The study found those who drank two or more artificially sweetened beverages every day were 31% more likely to have a clot-based stroke, 29% were likely to have heart disease and 16% were more likely to die from any cause other than people who drank diet beverages less than once a week or not at all.
Researches then look at people with no history of heart disease and diabetes, which are the key risk factors for stroke. In the end, scientists learned that those who drank at least one artificially soft drink per day were three times more likely to have a stroke or develop the risk of dementia than those who drank less than one a week.
Their findings were based on factors such as age, calorie intake, gender, diet quality, physical activity and the presence of genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Of course, like all observational studies conducted, the research is only observational and can’t show cause and effect, and is impossible to determine what the association of these strokes and heart attacks are due to a specific artificial sweetener. Because well, Americans drink over 3 billion gallons of diet soda out of a total of 12.2 billion gallons of carbonated soda. So, who knows.
What does this mean for us? Well, it means that maybe we shouldn’t be chugging 4 Diet Cokes or Pepsi’s in one day. Moderation is key, but the chances of it giving you a stroke or a heart attack? Who knows? According to science, yes it can be a possibility. According to my mother who tries to fix every sickness or a bad day by drinking a Diet Coke to fix my sugar levels even though it “has no sugar”, it doesn’t.
So, yeah, this is your daily reminder to maybe drink water today to avoid being one of those statistic numbers.