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Max Carnage

NEWS: Diet soft-drinks increase your risk of vascular disease by 50%!

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Well, that's what Sunrise told me.

And the HUN:

DIET soda drinkers are probably doing their waistlines a favor, but may also be boosting their risk of having a stroke, according to research released by researchers from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Interesting, I thought. I wonder whether they also 'increase the risk of diabetes'? Because I've noticed many diabetes sufferers (my family is rife with the juvenile-onset variety) drink diet soft-drink. Catch my drift? I reckon overweight people and those with a history/family history of heart problems would be more likely to drink diet soft-drink than a broader population too...

So what does the report really say? Bit hard to say because no news article has named it, but...

The research was based on 2,564 people who participated in the Northern Manhattan Study. Gardener and her colleagues found that people who drink diet soda every day have the greatest risk of stroke when compared to people who do not drink any soda.
For the soda study, researchers asked participants how much and what kind of soda they drank. Participants were then grouped into seven categories: no soda (meaning less than one soda of any kind per month); moderate regular soda only (between one per month and six per week), daily regular soda (at least one per day); moderate diet soda only; daily diet soda only; and two groups of people who drink both types: moderate diet and any regular, and daily diet with any regular.

About 900 study participants reported drinking no soda at the start of the study, while 163 said they drank one or more daily.

Researchers followed up with participants for an average of 9.3 years. During that time, 559 suffered a vascular event, such as an ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, both of which is caused by the rupture of a weakened blood vessel.

For starters I think they need to replace 'greatest risk' with 'greatest incidence'.

These numbers are ringing alarm bells, but I'd need to see the full set. 2600 total, 1600 soft-drinkers, 160 daily soft-drinker, XX (suspect < 80) daily diet soft-drinkers of which Y (~20%?) 'suffered a vascular event'. We're getting to the level where statistical/sampling noise could become an issue.

ABC on the study:

Association, Not Causation

Connie Diekman, a registered dietician and director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St Louis, said, "Population-based studies provide some 'food for thought' but shouldn't be used as the basis of nutrition guides for individuals. This study would be another one that indicates more controlled studies are needed."

Drinking regular or diet soda has previously been linked to diabetes and metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes. Surprisingly, Gardener and colleagues failed to detect an increased cardiovascular risk among daily drinkers of regular soda.

"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," said Dr. Howard Weintraub, clinical director of the New York University Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, explaining the propensity to wash down a high-fat meal with low-cal soda.

Although the authors went on to control for metabolic syndrome (a component of which is obesity), peripheral vascular disease and cardiac disease history later in their analysis -- lowering the magnitude of increased risk to 48 percent -- they did not account for variations in eating habits.

Dr. Cam Patterson, chief of cardiology and director of the University of North Carolina McAllister Heart Institute, said, "We can't ignore this association but we really don't know what it means right now. It is implausible to me that diet drinks actually cause heart disease, but it does make sense that people who drink diet sodas might make other lifestyle choices, like exercising less, that contribute to the results of this study.

"I'll continue to pack a diet soda with my lunch, but I'll look more carefully at what else is in my lunch box," Patterson said, "and I'll pay more attention to what I'm doing while I'm drinking my diet soda."

Disclaimer: I drink one diet soft-drink per day.

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It might be like the dental floss analogy - you know how people who use dental floss live longer, but health officials can't determine whether that is because people who floss generally take better care of their bodies. Well with people who don't drink soda, maybe they just take better care of their bodies too. And people who drink diet soda may take a casual/relaxed view to health and might smoke, or be overweight (thus trying to cut calories by drinking diet when they shouldn't be drinking it at all), they might not exercise. I think more studies are needed.

I personally can't stand the taste of diet sodas.

I only drink soda with alcohol (not often). Hubster loves his coke. I don't get why other than the caffeine/sugar fix.

Max - why do you drink that one diet soft drink a day?

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Because it is refreshing and caffeinated. :thumbsup:

And because they ran the water pipes through the roof cavity in our office building so a glass of water is either 33 degrees celsius or a seven minute wait with the tap running before cool water finally gets to the spout. <_<

The choice of diet product is for its health 'benefits' relative to sugary alternatives. I'm not overweight or diabetic, but am just trying to keep my body healthy. A combination of healthy eating and excercise has done me wonders over the last year and avoiding sugar has been part of that.

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Are you allowed to take frozen water/ cordial/ watered down fruit juce etc bottles to work? That would suck about the pipes.

I've always figured that the 'refreshing and caffeinated' soft drinks didn't fill a void, they actually created one. It's by drinking them that you want more. You aren't born wanting caffeine. There was no sacrifice in not drinking them for me because there was nothing I was giving up. They offered me nothing. That's just me though.

I know others who do drink diet soda and regular. Most of the time I think they just want something to drink other than water.

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