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Do Diet Sodas Increase Stroke Risk?

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For people who want to avoid extra sugar and the calories it entails, diet soft drinks seem very appealing. In other words, this has long been thought of a way to have your cake and eat it too. But a new study suggests that diet sodas may have unexpected dangers. Investigators enrolled about 2500 New Yorkers and followed their progress for nearly a decade. People who consumed at least one diet soda daily had a 61 percent increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Experts were quick to point out that this was an epidemiological study rather than a controlled trial. Nevertheless, it would appear that diet soft drinks may not be as safe as they seem.

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13 Comments

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Are there any studies on Stevia?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: THE FDA REQUIRED SOME STUDIES BEFORE APPROVING IT A FEW YEARS AGO.

As with many reported research outcomes, the actual risk reported here is not clear.

What is the risk of stroke for people in this group in the first place?

Did the study control for age, weight, prior illness?

Would we expect strokes in this group to be one in 500,000 or one in 1,000?

Is a bottle of diet pop per day safer than, say, a Snickers per day?

It's the sweetener called Aspartame!

While it is helpful to know the conclusion of this study, the article would be more helpful and informative if it contained more information and discussion. For example, I heard that the study did not control for family history of stroke and heart problems. If that is true the results seem less compelling. The article did not talk about how many diet drinks were consumed. For now, I am filing the info away under cautions to take, but not in my "abstinence" file.

Against what control group? People who drank no soda, people who drank HFCS-sodas, people who drank beer? What's the absolute value of stroke and heart attack in the study group? One person having a stroke vs. 2 people isn't all that much of a difference, when you're counting NYers.

Furthermore, diet drinks aren't "safe." They're simply less caloric than HFCS drinks, which have their own set of problems.

Is this just sodas or is it the sugar substitute like Splenda or Sweet-N-Low?

Excuse me, but I really need some clarification. What is an epidemiological study compared to a controlled trial? And if the study is not something sound enough to provide complete information, why scare the holy hades out of someone trying to replace sugared soft drinks with a diet soda?

The article stated "one soda" - well, what size? 12oz, 16ozz or a 2litre?
What is irritating is that there is just enough information to disturb you, but not enough to provide the reason for being disturbed.

Thanks so much !!! That's exactly what I wanted to know.

What is in diet soda that would cause a stroke or heart attack. Aspartame? You've not mentioned the ingredient(s) that would do so. Please be a little more specific. I hear Aspartame isn't good for the body and it also has side effects.

In additional to all the other comments I would say it would be helpful to be given a link to a website that has the actual study results or the full story. I think giving a little information is not helpful but more a fear inducing tactic which is not healthful for anyone.

This study has already been debunked as "bad science" by several medical professionals. The methodology has been seriously questioned. One medical commentator basically said the study was worthless.

My guess is that if someone is drinking diet soda, there is a reason. Maybe they are trying to lose weight or have a family history of diabetes. Therefore, they most likely have a higher risk of stroke and MI to start with.

Also, you have no idea what else they are consuming. While the other group is very vague also. They could be people that occasionally drink regular soda for a treat, but mostly have a healthy conscientious diet. And, generally speaking, have had no one in their immediate family who has had diabetes.

I am also going to try to read the research in it's entirety. I feel that regular soda is so bad for people who have diabetes or pre-diabetes, that this study, if run as poorly as I think, does a disservice to the millions of Americans with diabetes.

One simple thing that could have cleared up this muddle was to run an HBA1C on every one in the study. An increasing HBA1C is clearly correlated with increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Also, triglycerides would have been helpful as they are fairly well correlated with increased risks as above.

Include those parameters and then I will take a closer look at this research.

Personally, as a nurse, I certainly think an accurate study of "diet drinks" & their effects can not be measured by this one group using different artificial sweeteners. Instead, tests should be run on aspartame sweetened beverages only & those effects measured... then separate tests should be run on splenda sweetened drinks & their effects.

A blanket study is quite inaccurate... like using apples & oranges. There are many who cannot tolerate any aspartame sweetened items (they feel quite unwell, often very quickly.) Unfortunately, faulty testing draws faulty conclusions. Just my opinion. (Just for the books, I am one of the aspartame intolerant people with no reaction of any kind with Splenda.)... Roma

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