Do Diet Drinks Increase the Risk of Heart Attacks?

Diet Coke Can

We’re no fans of diet soft drinks. Add this to our list of reasons to abstain: a recently published study raises additional questions about artificially sweetened beverages. Close to 60,000 post-menopausal women with no heart problems participated in the study. They were divided into 4 group based on the amount of diet drinks they consumed. The women in the group that consumed 2 or more diet drinks per day ended up having a higher incidence of heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues.

Digging into the data, the heavy diet drinkers tended to be more overweight and to smoke, so perhaps those were the reasons they got more sick. The researchers took this into account in their risk calculations and the 2 drinks a day cohort still had an increased chance for heart problems.

In animal studies, consumption of artificial sweeteners followed by regularly sweetened foods led to higher spikes in blood sugar. Artificial sweeteners also decreased the production of a certain heart-protective protein in those animals.

Keep in mind that human studies such as the one just published prove correlation, not causation. Yet most studies we’ve come across seem to correlate soft drinks (diet and calorically sweetened) with negative health outcomes. Diet soft drinks are not associated with being skinnier. Unless you are watching a commercial for Diet Coke or Pepsi.

Sources:

Diet Drink Consumption and the Risk of Cardiovascular Events: A Report from the Women’s Health Initiative

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  • H2O

    All soda is poison. Water is the best thing to be drinking. Pepsi and Coke are getting rich by poisoning people.. I boycott soda

  • nicole ashley

    The most important point in this post: Correlation does NOT equal causation. None of this proves that diet soda increases risk of heart attacks. Only that the two variables (drinking diet soda and heart attacks) occur together on a statistically significant level.

  • http://www.nutsci.org Colby

    How can you ‘dig into the data’ of a conference abstract?

  • vroomvsr

    The fact that they smokes must have really impacted the data though…