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heart attackQuite often we see diet soda being advertised as an element of a healthy lifestyle. However, it turned out that diet soda is not as harmless as it is promoted. The researches of American specialists from Columbia University and MiamiТs Miller School of Medicine have shown that drinking diet soda on a regular basis may not be such a good idea. According to the findings of the study, presented lately at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles, regular consumption of diet soda is linked to increased chances of heart attack, stroke or other serious cardiovascular problems.

This long term study involved analysis of soda drinking habits of 2,564 New Yorkers of various race and origin, average age – 69. The scientists found out that diet soda consumption is linked to white race, poor metabolism, a high BMI and elevated blood pressure, high levels of sugar and cholesterol in blood, etc. In the time period of about 9 years, there were about 560 vascular incidents in the group of the participants. This data allowed scientists to come to a conclusion that those who drink diet soda have 61% more chances to develop a cardiovascular condition, mainly stroke and heart attack.

diet sodaHannah Gardener, a specialist of the University of Miami, underlined while presenting the findings of the research: “This study suggests that diet soda is not an optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages, and may be associated with a greater risk of stroke. If our results are confirmed with future studies, then it would suggest that diet soda may not be the optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages for protection against cardiovascular problems.” It is interesting that the specialists are convinced that such factors as smoking, alcohol abuse, the amount of daily physical activities and the type of diet do not count for the mentioned increased risks for heart attach and stroke.

However, other experts are not rushing to take the results of this research too seriously. For example, Dr. Christopher Cannon, a specialist from Brigham and Women’s Hospital underlines that in this study, the number of participants who used to consume diet soda on a regular basis, was too small (116). Dr. Howard Weintraub, clinical director of the New York University Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, is considering that there can be other reasons behind so high chances of having cardiovascular problem in diet soda fans. “Unfortunately, it may be that individuals with poor dietary habits do resort in some kind of calorie balancing and continue to eat high-calorie sweet foods but reduce their guilt by drinking diet soda,” he says.

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