Diet Soda May Cause Health Problems, Study Says

CHICAGO (CBS) – People often drink diet sodas to be healthier, but new research suggests some potential health dangers.

CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports a look at the risk and has some advice on what to do if you’re a fan of those drinks.

No doubt, millions of people can’t seem to do without their diet soda. But some recent research suggests a link between diet soda and heart disease. That may cause some people to make a different choice the next time they’re thirsty.

The University of Miami/Columbia University study found the risk of heart attack and stroke was 43 percent higher among people who drank diet soda at least once a day.

For people who never or rarely drank diet beverages, the risk was just 22 percent. And, there was no increased risk for regular soda drinkers.

Dr. Annabelle Volgman, director of the Rush Heart Center for Women, believes those findings are cause for concern.

“It worries me that we think diet sodas are better than regular sodas. It may be in terms of calorie intake, but it doesn’t seem to be protective from heart disease and strokes,” she says.

Dr. Volgman cautions that the study wasn’t well-conducted because it didn’t track soda consumption through the entire 10 years. She also points out that many of the study participants had pre-existing heart disease risk factors including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

But earlier studies have questioned the health effects of raspberry ketone diet soda, too. Those have linked the drink to weight gain, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.

So, what should you do if diet soda is your favorite drink?

Experts say more studies need to be done. In the meantime, Dr. Volgman advises moderation.

“It’s like eating a wonderful piece of candy. It should be a treat and not a regular intake,” she says.

Diet soda-fans are divided about what to do.

“It’s kind of addicting, so I just drink it, anyway,” Elisa Redish says.

“We’re all going to go away, somehow. I just chose mine to be a drink,” Kwame Speller says, laughing.

Every expert CBS 2 interviewed said the findings from the latest study should not force consumers to make wholesale changes in their diet plans. Many say water is the best beverage.

They still suggest diet sodas are better than sugary soft drinks.

  • Me

    Another nail in the coffin of diet beverages……

  • safety minded mom

    And anyone thinks this is new? It makes me so mad to think that our wonderful lawmakers in Illinois saw fit to allow only the sale of diet sodas in our public schools. My son was/is on the lower end of the weight bracket but they decided it would be ‘healthier’ for the schools to not sell regular soda only diet-or milk or Gatorade at a huge profit for the Gatorade($2.50 for a 12 oz. bottle). I never allowed my son to drink even sips of my diet on the rare occasions that I had one-chemicals are not good for kids!!

  • shirley

    What about crystal light and the sugar free fruit drinks?????

  • AspartameIsPureShytte

    I wouldn’t go near Aspartame and neither would the guy that invented it (he said so himself during an interview I heard). That’s good enough for me!

  • The 1%

    I’m not going to pay for your healthcare Arthur or any other Obamacare government take-over healthcare.
    All they do is take hard earned money from 1%’ers like me and give them to lazy, poor people like you.
    If you need medicine for your diabetes, get a job. Still can’t afford it, get 2 jobs.
    Stop taking money from wealthy, rich job creators.

    • Welfare Mom

      If I don’t have it, but you do. It’s only fair that you share it.

  • Bill

    They give you the what, but not the why.

  • Jim

    Drinking Water Can Kill You…drinking too much water can cause your brain to expand, which can kill you. There was a “hold your wee for a wii” contest in which a mom dies a few years ago. Moderation is vital.

    • Cynic

      Yeah….its full of a chemical called DHMO, short for Dihydrogen monoxide.

      • Realizes that DHMO is actually water

        I see what you did there, cynic…

      • Cynic

        :) There have been multiple ‘studies’ that have publicized DHMO and on the corner interviews of the general public over it. Always funny when another DHMO study rears its head.

  • Kim

    I am a registered dietitian and think it’s important to keep things in perspective. This research did not prove that diet soda causes increased vascular events; instead, it showed an association between the two, which is different. The study did not control for known cardiovascular risk factors like family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and personal dietary habits, including consumption of trans and saturated fat. I also consult for food and beverage companies including Coca-Cola and as such follow nutrition research. What I am finding is that some researchers are quick to point at a particular food or habit as the cause of health problems. In my experience, showing patients how they can incorporate favorites in their diets in sensible portions tends to be a more effective approach to improve overall health than telling people to give up foods and beverages they enjoy.

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