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Drinking 2 or more diet sodas per day is linked to stroke, heart disease: study

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While reaching for a diet soda or may seem like a healthier choice in the time, a new study linking the artificial sweetened with a greater risk of heart attack and stroke. The study included data from 82,000 women in the age of 50-79, found that only 5.1 percent of the participants were drinking two or more artificially sweetened beverages per day, but that group was determined to have a 23 percent higher risk of stroke in general, and 29 percent higher risk of suffering from heart disease.

That group was also 16 percent more likely to die from any cause than other women involved in the study. The results were not replicated in men, or young women.

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“Many well-meaning people, especially those who are overweight or obese, to drink, low-calorie-sweetened beverages to cut calories in their food,” Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, the study’s lead author, told the newspaper USA Today. “Our study and other observational studies have shown that artificially sweetened drinks may not be harmless and high consumption is associated with a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.”

The authors cautioned that the study, which was published in the American Heart Association journal, Stroke, shows an association rather than a cause-and-effect situation.

“We do not know specifically what kind of artificially sweetened beverages they were consuming, so we do not know which artificial sweeteners can be harmful and which are harmless,” Mossovar-Rahmani said.

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Previous studies have linked artificially sweetened drinks to higher risk of dementia. In 2012, the AHA and the American Diabetes Association warned that while artificial sweeteners can help lower sugar intake “when used judiciously,” more research is needed on non-nutritive sweeteners and cardiovascular risks.

Still, researchers involved in the studies that diet soda to adverse health effects do not recommend to switch to regular soda.

In an AHA science advisory published in July, experts cautioned against frequent and long-term consumption of diet beverages, especially in children, and urged the people to replace sugary and diet drinks with plain, carbonated or unsweetened flavored water.

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“We hear a lot about the potential harmful effects of low-calorie sweeteners, but that is speculation. We have to go with the available evidence,” Alice Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University, said at the time. “The best advice we can give at this time is to slope down, intake and avoiding excessive consumption.”

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