Diet Soda Just as Bad for Heart Health

We all make sacrifices for our health. We give up things we love. For many of us, that means dietary changes for heart health. We want to take care of our tickers so we can live long, happy lives! Many of us make healthy swaps for our guilty pleasures to keep them in our lives without the guilt! It’s a great way to still enjoy our treats without worrying so much. But, if you gave up Classic Coke and replaced it with Diet Coke, you might have to think again.

Researchers looked at the health records of almost 105,000 people. They had the people fill out surveys about their diets every six months for 10 years. They categorized the people as non-consumers, low consumers and high consumers of sugary drinks, artificially sweetened beverages or neither. The people who drank either the sugary beverages and the diet drinks were at a higher risk for heart disease. The people who drank sweetened beverages also had a higher risk of stroke than people who passed on them.

This study demonstrates that high consumers of sugary drinks and artificially sweetened beverages both had a higher risk of a first cardiovascular event,” said Dr. Guy Mintz, a cardiologist at Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital. “This study is further proof that drinks with artificial sweeteners are unhealthy. Artificial sweeteners have been associated with weight gain, insulin resistance and diabetes.”

This is worrying news. Even though you might think we’re drinking less of them, we’re consuming more sweet drinks than ever. That might be because people are swapping from soda to juice — viewed as healthier but still packed with sugar.

Sugary drinks consumption has increased worldwide in recent years while evidence demonstrating their detrimental impact on cardio-metabolic health is accumulating,” said Eloi Chazelas, lead author of the study and a member of the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team.

If you like drinks with flavor but are concerned about your heart health, you might be interested in looking for alternatives. Cutting down on the diet drinks and then getting rid of them totally might be the healthiest option. Try unsweetened tea (we know it sounds wrong to us too!), herbal tea or water with fruit infused into it. Or have seltzer instead of soda, as it’s bubbly, you might not miss the sweetness.

If you’re anything like us, you find water a bit boring when you aren’t thirsty. You need clear fluids to stay healthy and hydrated. But sometimes water just doesn’t cut it. That’s why we are suggesting these swaps. As you cut back on soda and find an alternative you like, you might find you don’t miss soda quite so much over time. You might even find you like tea with lemon!

Banner image: Josh Applegate via Unsplash
October 30, 2020
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