Dangers Of Diet Soda Include Increased Heart Stroke Risk
Diet soda and salt, two mainstays of many diets have come under scrutiny by researchers who wonder what these things are doing to the body. A bit of unsettling new research suggests the dangers of diet soda may include boosting your heart stroke risk.
A separate study by the same team using data from the same source found that consuming high levels of salt was also associated with a higher stroke risk. In the US stroke comes third in the league table of leading causes of death (with heart disease and cancer in the first two spots) and kills over 137,000 a year.
The diet soda portion of the study saw a significantly increased risk for those who drank the diet versions of beverages, but not for those who drank regular soda.
Earlier work on soda intake found that people who had more than one of these beverages a day (either the regular or diet variety) had a greater chance of developing metabolic syndrome, which is a group of risk factors that up the chances of diabetes and heart disease according to experts.
To evaluate stroke risk in relation to diet soda, researchers looked at the soda drinking habits of just over 2,500 subjects. The participants completed food questionnaires that included information on how much soda they drank, what type it was, and how often they drank it.
During the nine years the participants were followed, 559 people had a vascular event, including both types of strokes – hemorrhagic and those brought on by clots (ischemic stroke).
The research team controlled for stroke risk factors like age, ethnicity, gender, levels of exercise, number of calories, smoking history and alcohol intake and still saw that participants who drank diets sodas every day had a 61% increased risk of stroke compared with those who didn’t drink any soda daily. The team even controlled for metabolic syndrome, those suffering from hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and heart disease history and the link still was strong, though lower, at 48% increased risk of stroke.
The reason for the link between diet drinks and stroke risk remains unknown and the work did not show a cause and effect relationship. The research findings do suggest that drinking lots of diet soda every day might not be the best thing for the body… something to think about while waiting for more research to be done.
They also conducted a separate study that concluded a high level of salt intake was associated with a higher stroke risk. For this work the salt intake of 2,657 participants was examined, and followed for nearly a decade. During follow up, 187 ischemic strokes took place, with subjects who took in over 4,000 milligrams of sodium a day having twice the risk of stroke compared to participants who had less than 1,500 milligrams of salt daily.
The American Heart Association tells us that we should take in a maximum of 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day, while the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans call for intake under 2,300 milligrams daily, with those over 51 years old, or who are part of specific groups such as those who have high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, or are African American advised to stick with 1,500 milligrams.
Your best bet, if you’re concerned about heart stroke risk and the dangers of diet soda is to avoid all forms of soda on a daily basis and keep your salt intake under the recommended allowances. A slip once in a while won’t hurt you, but high, regular daily intakes just might.