Are you a woman over 50 who drink diet beverages daily? a new study has bad news for you.
Drinking two or more of any kind of artificially sweetened drinks a day is linked to an increased risk of clot-based strokes, heart attacks and early death, according to research published in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association.
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Previous research has shown that people who consume at least one glass of diet drinks daily are three times more at risk from a stroke or dementia when compared to those who did not consume diet drinks, Boston University researchers found.
According to this research, the risks were highest for women with no history of heart disease or diabetes and women who were obese or black women.
More than 80,000 postmenopausal women (age 50-79 years) who were tracked for an average of 11.9 years, were asked how often they drank one 12-fluid-ounce serving of diet beverage such as low calorie, artificially sweetened colas, sodas and fruit drinks over the previous three months.
“We don’t know specifically what types of artificially sweetened beverages they were consuming, so we don’t know which artificial sweeteners may be harmful and which may be harmless,” said Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Ph.D., lead author of the study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
The study found that women who consumed two or more artificially sweetened beverages each day were 31% more likely to have a clot-based stroke, 29% more likely to have heart disease and 16% more likely to die from any cause than women who drank diet beverages less than once a week or not at all.
The American Heart Association recently published a science advisory that found there was inadequate scientific research to conclude that low-calorie sweetened beverages do – or do not – alter risk factors for heart disease and stroke in young children, teens or adults.
The Association recognizes diet drinks may help replace high calorie, sugary beverages, but suggests water as the best choice for a no-calorie beverage.
“Unfortunately, current research simply does not provide enough evidence to distinguish between the effects of different low-calorie sweeteners on heart and brain health. This study adds to the evidence that limiting use of diet beverages is the most prudent thing to do for your health,” the researchers say.