Is diet soda bad for you? One study links diet soda to stroke

Diet soda

Is diet soda bad for you? Some studies are suggesting it might be. Image: Flickr / MoneyBlogNewz / CC-BY

In a new study presented at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference, diet soda was linked to risk of heart attack and stroke. Many are seizing on this study and others linking the product to obesity as proof that diet soda is dangerous. This study, however, is preliminary and the results are very heavily questioned.

Diet soda’s link to stroke and heart attack

The American Stroke Association’s study presented at the International Stroke Conference was based on about 2,500 people self-reporting their consumption of diet soda. The study pitted individuals who drank no soda against those who drank diet soda. After adjusting for smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity and daily caloric intake, the study found that those who drank diet soda had a 61 percent higher risk of stroke.

Problems with diet soda stroke study

The study linking diet soda and risk of stroke and heart attack is not without problems. The self-reported study asked individuals about their soda consumption at only one point in time. Only 163 individuals reported drinking diet soda, while 901 individuals reported drinking no soda. Additionally, the study did not adjust data for family history of cardiovascular disease, which increases risk of heart attack greatly. Lastly, about 75 percent of study participants came from ethnic groups that tend to be at a higher risk of heart attack than the general population.

Is diet soda bad for you?

The study that linked diet soda with stroke risk is only the latest piece of evidence (or non-evidence) in the case of diet soda. Previous studies have linked the consumption of diet soda to obesity, diabetes and other negative health conditions. There is no scientific consensus on whether diet soda is bad for you. The growing body of peer-reviewed studies and anecdotal evidence, however, seems to be pointing to “yes.” There are thousands of types of chemical sweeteners, however, each one with a different safety profile.


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