The List of Health-Conscious Drinks Gets Shorter: Researchers Find a Link Between Diet Soda and Increased Risk of Stroke

Diet SodaNew research suggests that individuals who drink diet soda every day could increase their risk of stroke! In fact, they saw a significant increased risk among those who drank diet soda daily and NOT regular soda?

Now we may all be asking: “What is the link?” and the thing is, they don’t know. Researchers reported the findings at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2011 but I originally heard about it while watching NBC’s TODAY Show with my son. Watch the clip here:

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My son admits to once consuming two liters of regular pop every day, an unhealthy habit that I continued to ask him to end during his high school years. Once he did, he lost 24 pounds in three months… and refuses to drink regular or diet pop to this day. He now realizes he feels too good without the stuff!

It’s funny to note he was the one who insisted I watched the news segment I shared above – his good health is now top priority! Isn’t that what we want for all our kids? This mom sure loves it!

Stroke is the Third Leading Cause of Death in the United States

More than 137,000 people a year die from stroke, according to the American Stroke Association.

Previous research found those who drank more than one soda a day, regular or diet, were more likely than non-drinkers to have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors including high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides (blood fats), low levels of good cholesterol, high fasting blood sugar and large waists. Metabolic syndrome, in turn, raises the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But, the direct link between diet soda (not regular soda) found in this study to heart conditions and stroke has me concerned for many who use diet drinks as a “healthy” substitute for sugary beverages.

The researchers controlled for such factors as age, gender, ethnicity, physical activity, calorie intake, smoking and alcohol drinking habits and still found that those who drank diet soda daily – compared to those who drank no soda – were 61% more likely to have a vascular event.

Seeking Safer Substitutes

I have a few personal thoughts on this: I feel that if you aren’t familiar -or can’t even pronounce- the ingredients in a beverage that you’re consuming, then you probably shouldn’t drink too much of it! Sure, I love the taste of diet soda, but I’m also aware that most are full of sodium, plus several items I’ve never heard of. I located three popular diet soda bottles and found these ingredients listed on the labels: potassium benzoate, acesulfame potassium, brominated vegetable oil and calcium disodium edta – just to name a few. I’m not aware of the possible benefits or negative side effects of these ingredients, but honestly, I’d rather drink something I am familiar with and that I can pronounce: Water. Tea. Coffee.

And some added information for those individuals who drink regular pop on a daily basis: high fructose corn syrup is listed as one of the main ingredients – which is why each 8 oz. serving contains at least, if not more than 100 calories.

Are You Convinced You Should Cut Back?

All I can say is that after learning of the increased risk of stroke possibly created by drinking too much diet soda, I’m very thankful to know that I only have a diet pop as a once-a-week treat. What about you? Do you feel that this study is fair to diet pop drinkers?

Please comment in the area provided below ~ thanks!

Photo Credit: Mr. T in DC


Read 3 Comments

  1. This was a great post. Happy to hear your son has stopped drinking carbonated drinks. It’s relationship to stroke is a bit surprising, but when you really think about the sugar, carbon, and preservatives that go into these drinks, it’s likely that it’s so unnatural to the body, that the body just “short circuits”

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