Diet Soda & Heart Attacks

Replacing sugary drinks with diet options might seem like a good substation. A new study, however, indicates that is not the best choice. According to Colleen Rauchut Tewksbury, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, if people switch to zero-calorie sodas, then eat extra fries or indulge in dessert, the effort is lost. Tewksbury indicated her findings via a research letter in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. It included over 100,000 French adults.

The study divided its participants based on what they consumed in 24 hours. The six groups included the following categories: non-consumers, low-consumers, and high-consumers of sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened drinks. The participants completed diet surveys every six months.

From the results that were collected, 1,379 study participants suffered a first-time heart attack, severe chest pain, or strokes. In the results, it was also found that the risk for a medical emergency was 32% higher among high consumers of diet drinks, versus non-consumers. The risk among high consumers of sugary drinks was 20% higher.

The Calorie Control Council also analyzed the findings. They said in a statement:

“Epidemiological studies, even those built on large sample sizes, are subject to potential pitfalls including reverse causality [subjects choose low and no-calorie sweeteners (LNCS) as a tool to manage their weight after becoming overweight/obese] and residual confounding [inability to control for factors that influence health outcomes], as the researchers noted.”

“If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the label, that’s a red flag,” added Andrew Freeman a cardiologist at National Jewish Health, in Denver.  He stressed that while not everyone loves water, some people are attached to the sweet taste and bubbles of their favorite drink. “It’s hard for people to give up their diet soda,” Freeman said. “It can be pretty addictive.”