Soda and Heart Disease

Diet Soft Drinks Linked to Heart Disease

by O2Living Editorial Team @o2living
posted on May 02nd 2012

The New York Times published in February "Diet soft drinks linked to heart disease." A second, larger study released since then found no link.  The first study tracked roughly 2,500 middle-aged and older men and women living in upper Manhattan for 10 years.  Those who drank diet sodas every day had a 43 percent higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, or other "vascular events" than those who drank no diet sodas.  Those who drank sugar-sweetened sodas had no increased risk.

The second study followed more than 42,000 male health professionals for 22 years.  Those who drank the most sugar-sweetnened sodas (roughly one a day) had a 20 percent higher risk of heart disease than those who drank none.  However, those who drank diet sodas (roughly one per day), did not have a higher risk than non-diet-soda drinkers.

The results differed because the Manhattan study's results are less reliable because so few of its participants drank diet soda.  Only 163 New Yorkers compared to 10,000 health professionals drank diet soda daily.  The New Yorks who drank diet sodas were more likely to have high blood pressure, high triglycerides, diabetes, were obese, or a previous diagnosis of heart disease than the New Yorkers who drank no diet soda.

It's possible that "people at increased risk of vascular events due to pre-existing vascular conditions may be advised to switch from regular to diet soft drinks, note the authors.  If so, those conditions, not the diet soda could have caused their heart attacks or strokes.  It is advised that it is worth it to limit diet sodas to avoid their aspartame artificial sweetner, but not to lower your risk of heart attack based on these findings.

J.Gen.Intern.Med. DO1:10.1007/s11606-011-1968-2 Circulation DO1:101161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.067017

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