Diet soda companies have managed to attract beverage drinkers due to the fact that they are low in calories compared to normal soda beverages. However, recent reports have alarmed everyone around as they suggest that diet soda may increase the chances of getting a stroke or heart attack.
A study made by Gardener and her colleagues was carried out among 2,564 people and they were followed up for a period of 9 years. Among those people there were 559 vascular events (in the 9 years) that included strokes due to hemorrhages and clots. In the study the age, physical activity, ethnicity, gender, smoking, alcohol intake and calorie intake were controlled and still the results showed a surprising 61% increase in the risk for vascular diseases than non-drinkers(soda). Later the researchers went on to control some more factors like metabolic syndrome, history of heart disease and vascular diseases in the limbs but the increase was still 48%.
The study clearly pointed out that diet soda is not the ideal substitute for soda beverages. According to Hannah Ellen Gardener who is an epidemiologist at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, people who drank diet soda had a much higher risk factor than people who did not drink diet soda. Unfortunately researchers do not have a definite answer to the link between the two.
Some flaws to the theory
However, as the link between diet soda and strokes has not yet been clearly identified and established, there are a number of researchers who have shown thumbs down for the theory and said that the findings are still premature and unclear and the cause and effect has not yet been established between the two. Their main bone of contention was that the target group’s soda intake during the testing period was not constant hence the findings could not be validated. Research is still being carried out to rule out any accidental correlation between the two and to find a suitable reason for what factor in diet soda is directly causing an increase in stroke. Till then, it’s better to stay careful and drink soda beverages cautiously.