You have decided to improve your lifestyle and take control of your diet, but you cannot resist soda? So, after some thinking on the topic, you decide to keep drinking it, with the difference that you will start drinking diet soda instead. Millions of people make this decision every year, since the sly marketing departments of large soda companies convince people that switching to diet soda is a perfectly healthy alternative.
However, the reality is that none of this is true. The majority of soda manufacturers use artificial sweeteners, one of the best known and most commonly used being aspartame, instead of sugar. The University of Iowa has conducted a new study which has shown that this substance is linked to a raised likelihood of heart disease.
Dangers of drinking diet soda
This study was carried out under the lead of Dr. Ankur Vyas, and it represents one of the most comprehensive studies with about 60,000 women who took part in it. This study was being carried out for more than nine years. This study was called the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, and it revealed that the participants who drank two or more cans of diet soda per day had increased risk by 30 percent of developing a cardiovascular disease (or to experience a heart attack).
They also had an increased risk by 50 percent to die of a heart-related disease compared to someone who drank none. According to Vyas, this was one of the biggest studies on the topic, and the results from the study are consistent with some previous data, especially those data that have already been linking diet drinks to the metabolic syndrome.
If we take into consideration the scale of the study and the fact that nearly one in five people in the United States drink diet soda every day, the results could prove to the immensely significant to the general public health. To be more precise, 59,614 people participated in the study, and they were divided into four groups by the team of researchers: two or more diet drinks per day, five to seven diet drinks per week, one to four diet drinks per week, and zero to three diet drinks per month.
About nine years later, the health records of each woman were analyzed and the results indicated that the coronary heart diseases, including heart attack, coronary revascularization procedure, congestive heart failure, ischemic stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and cardiovascular death occurred in 8.5 percent of the women who were consuming two or more diet drinks a day, compared to 6.9 percent in the group of participants who were consuming five to seven diet drinks per week, 6.8 percent in the group of people who were consuming one to four drinks per week, and 7.2 percent in the group of participants who consumed zero to three diet drink per month.
- At first sight, it may seem to one that aspartame is not one of the leading causes of heart disease. Nevertheless, the records indicated that besides the fact that the rate of heart-related health issues was slightly increased, the women in the two-or-more-a-day group were, on average, considerably younger compared to the women in the other groups. This means that diet soda was causing health problems at an accelerated rate.
Moreover, the women in this group had the highest average BMIs, meaning that they had the highest risk of developing diabetes and they had the highest blood pressure on average. Even though this study was massive, no official conclusion was drawn. However, the initial signs are concerning.
- According to Vyas, their findings alongside the previous ones pose a responsibility to do more research and see what is going on. Furthermore, they would need to further define the link, as that could have major public health implications. In addition, there have been conducted even more researches and projects since the publication of the results of the study conducted by the University of Iowa, and this has been made in order to deduce the scale of the problems that aspartame can cause.
Nevertheless, in the meantime, you are suggested to avoid soda drinks in your daily life. In case you want to drink them from time to time, you should know that regular soda is actually better for you than the diet variety. It may seem that pumping money into production of diet soda is a healthy alternative, but it is not so, as numerous large companies are far more concerned with lining their pockets than benefiting their consumers. It is up to you to take care of what you put into your body, as after all, you are what you eat.