So you’ve decided to take control of your diet and try and live a healthier life, but you just can’t resist soda. In your mind, you rationalize the decision and decide that you can keep drinking it as long as you switch to diet soda instead. It’s a choice that millions of people make every year, as the clever marketing departments of large soda companies convince us that switching to diet is a perfectly healthy alternative.
The reality is that these claims are simply untrue! Most soda manufacturers use an artificial sweetener, called aspartame, to replace sugar. A new study carried out by the University of Iowa, has shown that this chemical is linked to an increased likelihood of heart disease.
Dangers of diet soda
A massive study conducted by Dr. Ankur Vyas of the University of Iowa observed nearly 60,000 women participants over the course of nine years. The study revealed that women who drank two or more diet sodas per day were 30% more likely to have a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack, and 50% more likely to die of a heart-related disease. It was also found that who drank more diet soda were experiencing health issues at younger ages.
“This is one of the largest studies on this topic, and our findings are consistent with some previous data, especially those linking diet drinks to the metabolic syndrome,” explained Vyas.
Participants of the study were split into four groups by the researchers:
– two or more diet drinks a day
– five to seven diet drinks per week
– one to four diet drinks per week
– zero to three diet drinks per month
The health records for the past 9 years of each woman was analyzed and the results were that, congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, heart attack, coronary revascularization procedure, peripheral arterial disease, ischemic stroke and cardiovascular death, occurred in 8.5% of the women consuming two or more diet drinks a day compared to 6.9% in the five-to-seven diet drinks per week group; 6.8% in the one-to-four drinks per week group; and 7.2% in the zero-to-three per month group.
At a glance, the results didn’t appear to fit the theory that aspartame was one of the major causes of heart disease. The records did however show that alongside the slightly higher rate of heart-related health issues, the women in the two or more a day group were, on average, significantly younger than the women in the other groups, meaning the diet sodas were causing health issues at an accelerated rate. The women in this group also had the highest average BMIs, the rate of diabetes and highest average blood pressure.
Although the study was conducted on such a large scale, no official conclusion has been drawn but the initial signs are very worrying.