Diet Sodas May Pose Heart Risk For Postmenopausal Women: Study

Women who regularly drink diet sodas may face an increased risk of developing heart disease and suffering an early death, according to the findings of new research. 

In a study presented over the weekend at the annual scientific sessions of American College of Cardiology, researchers found that post menopausal women who consume more than two diet sodas or diet juice drinks per day were 30% more likely to suffer heart disease, stroke or another serious cardiovascular event. Women drink diet sodas regularly were also found to be 50% more likely to die from cardiovascular related disease.

The long-running observational study of cardiovascular health trends as conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative, involving data on more than 60,000 women with an average age of 62 years and with no history of cardiovascular disease prior to beginning the study.

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Researchers found that higher consumption of diet drinks increased a person’s risk of experiencing a heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, ischemic stroke, suffering from peripheral arterial disease, coronary heart disease and cardiovascular death.

Dr. Ankur Vyas, lead author of the study, and his team of researchers from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics found cardiovascular events in 8.5% of women who consumed two or more diet drinks per day. By comparison, cardiovascular events were found in only 6.9% of women who consumed five to seven drinks per week, in 6.8% of women who consumed one to four drinks per week and only 7.2% of women who had no diet drinks or less than three per month.

After an average follow-up of nearly nine years, the team found women who consumed more diet beverages were more likely to be younger, more prone to be smokers and more likely to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and were overweight.

On average, one in five people consume diet sodas or beverages every day, making the findings of this study more timely and relevant.

The findings are similar to other studies which have linked drinking diet soda to increased weight gain instead of decreased weight, like advertisers would have consumers believe, and a higher likelihood of teens suffering from metabolic syndrome.

Authors say the study does not reveal a cause and effect between diet drinks and heart disease or other cardiovascular diseases or events; but is a strong link toward the connection. They do call on more research to confirm the findings.

The results of the informal study have not been officially published in a journal or peer reviewed.

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