Taking control of the diet and following a healthy lifestyle has become a top priority for numerous people around the world, so they are slowly introducing physical activities in their lives and practicing a healthier diet.
However, many of them find it difficult to eliminate soda from their diet. The only change that they are willing to make is to replace ordinary soda with diet soda.
Although most people fall the clever advertising of diet snacks and diet drinks, these come with a price. The thing is, just because something is promoted as “healthy”, “natural”, or “sugar-free,” it doesn’t mean it’s safe for consumption. Whether it’s diet snacks or diet soda, those fewer calories have their price.
Diet soda and heart disease
Diet soda is advertised as a healthy substitute for regular soda because it has fewer calories. Most soda manufacturers use an artificial sweetener, called aspartame, to replace sugar.
A new study carried out by the University of Iowa, has shown that this chemical is linked to an increased likelihood of heart disease.
The study, headed up by Dr. Ankur Vyas, was one of the most comprehensive of its type with nearly 60 000 women participating over nine years.
During his study, he discovered that people who drank two or more cans of diet soda a day were 30% more likely to have a cardiovascular event (heart attack) and 50% more likely to die of a heart-related disease than someone who drank none.
Given the scale of the study and the fact that approximately 1 in 5 people in America consume diet drinks on a daily basis, the results could prove to be hugely significant to overall public health.
In the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, Dr. Vyas and his team observed 60,000 postmenopausal women over the course of nine years.
First, participants tracked and reported their consumption of 12-ounce diet sodas and fruit drinks for three months. They were then divided into four groups: 2 or more drinks a day, 5-7 drinks per week, 1-4 drinks per week, and 0-3 drinks per month.
After nearly nine years the health records of each woman was analyzed. These included:
- Coronary heart disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Heart attack
- Coronary revascularization procedure
- Ischemic stroke
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Cardiovascular death
8.5% of the women who drank two or more diet drinks a day experienced one or more interventions over the course of the study. This compares to 6.9% in the 5-7 diet drinks per week group, 6.8% in the 1-4 drinks per week group, and 7.2% in the 0-3 per month group.
The results, on the surface, didn’t appear to fit the hypothesis that aspartame was one of the leading causes of heart disease. However, the records showed that alongside the slightly higher rate of heart-related health issues, the women in the two or more a day group were, on average, significantly younger than the women in the other groups, meaning the diet sodas were causing health issues at an accelerated rate.
A few more scientific research projects were conducted after this large study, looking for answers about the properties of aspartame and its effects on human health. While we are still waiting for the results, most scientists agree that people should stay away from soda drinks or at least lower the amount they consume. In case you want to enjoy the taste of this drink from time to time, it’s better to drink ordinary soda.
The fact that diet soda is advertised as something healthy by many popular companies tells us a lot about the advertising tactics big companies use. Ignore the commercials and stick to the facts – learn more about the ingredients found in every food or drink you consume.