Diet Drinks May Spell Heart Trouble for Older Women, Research Suggests

In the largest study of its kind, researchers have found that too many diet drinks may make older women more likely to have a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problem.

The research, presented at the American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific meeting, does not prove that diet beverages cause heart problems for healthy, postmenopausal women, but it shows an association.

Those who drank two or more diet beverages a day – including diet soda or low-calorie fruit drinks – were 30 percent more ilkely to suffer a cardiovascular event and 50 percent more likely to die from related disease, a news release states. Data from more than 59,600 women were analyzed for the study, which looked at the relationship between diet drink consumption, cardiac events and death.

“Our findings are in line with and extend data from previous studies showing an association between diet drinks and metabolic syndrome,” said Dr. Ankur Vyas, fellow, cardiovascular diseases, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and the lead investigator of the study. “We were interested in this research because there was a relative lack of data about diet drinks and cardiovascular outcomes and mortality.”

But more research is needed.

“It’s too soon to tell people to change their behavior based on this study; however, based on these and other findings we have a responsibility to do more research to see what is going on and further define the relationship, if one exists,” Vyas said. “This could have major public health implications.”

Roughly one in five people in the United States consumes diet drinks on a given day, according to federal statistics. This study only applies to postmenopausal women. Women in the study had no history of cardiovascular disease.

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