Diet Sodas Linked to Increased Stroke Risks in Women
Nutrition advice for reducing stroke risks now includes dropping diet sodas and the sugar substitutes commonly found on their labels according to recent research conducted on 81,714 women 50 and older over 12 years.
The American Heart Association, which published the study in its journal Stroke, recommends water — plain, carbonated or flavored, but unsweetened — as the best choice for a no-calorie drink.
How Much is Bad? Does it Matter?
The research suggests that women who drink “a lot” of artificially sweetened beverages increase their risks of stroke. What’s a lot? This was defined as at least two diet beverages a day for this study.
Those women are 31 percent more likely to have the most common type of stroke — an ischemic stroke, which is caused by a clot.
- The researchers compared women who drank two daily diet sodas or fruit drinks with those who drank such beverages less than once a week or not at all.
- The study did not identify the specific artificial sweeteners* that the drinks contained.
- The researchers found that high consumption of the diet beverages also came with an increase in other health risks, including a 29 percent greater chance of developing heart disease and a 16 percent increased likelihood of premature death.
- In addition, for black women and obese women, the chance of having an ischemic stroke more than doubled if they were high-level consumers of diet drinks.
- All participants in the research were middle-aged and older women, so whether the findings would apply to anyone else remains unclear.
What to do?
Listen to the advice of most reputable nutrition professionals and health organizations and reduce your use of these common artificial sweeteners or eliminate entirely!
* A partial list of common artificial sweeteners:
(see Body in Balance for more on these sweeteners)
- Acesulfame Potassium – Sunnett, Sweet One
- Aspartame – Nutrasweet, Equal
- Saccharin – Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin, Sugar Twin
- Sucralose – Splenda
- Stevia/Rebaudioside – Stevia, Truvia, PureVia
Boost Your Nutrition IQ
Learn more about these fake food additives in my book Body in Balance to weigh their risks. Learn the facts on how artificial sweeteners actually have been shown to increase obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and diabetes risks by altering glucose tolerance, negatively influencing brain chemistry and disrupting good gut bacteria.