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Posted: June 27, 2015

New studies find compelling evidence against drinking diet soda

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            New studies find compelling evidence against drinking diet soda
Liquid sugar in sodas, energy drinks and sports drinks is the leading source of added sugar in the American diet. (Photo courtesy Fotolia/TNS)

By John Pacenti

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

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It seems it may be almost getting to the point where it may be healthier to pick up a cigarette than a can of Diet Coke.

Just kidding.

Not really.

Earlier this month, the advocate website Collective Evolution – grant you its agenda is to keep us healthy – published a story about a study out of the University of Iowa linking diet drinks and cardiovascular issues such as heart attack and stroke in healthy, postmenopausal women. The research – the largest study of its kind – was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session in Washington, D.C. About 60,000 women participated in the study.

Researchers found that women who consumed two or more diet drinks a day are 30 percent more likely to experience a cardiovascular event and 50 percent more likely to die from a related disease. They emphasized how the association between diet drinks and cardiovascular problems raises more questions that it answers and “should stimulate further research.”

“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 truly exists,” one of the researchers, Dr. Ankur Vyas, told a University of Iowa  publication because “this could have major public health implications.”  

Sugar-sweetened sodas aren’t much better, of course.

Another study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology determined that consumption of sugar-sweetened soda increases the odds for kidney function decline.

Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that aspartame – a sugar substitute – is linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia in men.

(Everyone who drinks diet soda can use this pause here to curse.)

A new study shows that the diet sodas also lead to belly fat.

The study linking diet sodas and belly fat, which Forbes calls the ugliest form of fat, comes from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The researchers followed 466 European-American and Mexican-American participants over the age of 65 for almost 10 years. It turned out that people who drank at least one diet soda per day had a much steeper rise in waist circumference over the years than those who didn't.

Earlier this year, Forbes wrote about how consumers were sold a bill of goods on the nutritional value of artificial sweeteners. The story points out that consumption of these chemicals has increased dramatically.

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