The Diet Soda Dilemma: New study sheds light on possible health risks
Whether you enjoy it straight from the can, or fresh out of a fountain, diet soda is a staple beverage in the lives of many Americans. For decades, it has been used as a means to curb hunger, slim waistlines, and give fashion models something to put inside their bellies — other than coffee and carrot sticks. While it has appeared to be a healthier
alternative to regular soda, now a recent study suggests possible health risks the bubbly beverage may pose.
The study, which surveyed more than 2,500 New Yorkers over a span of ten years, discovered that those who drank diet soft drinks every day had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular issues — such as stroke and heart attack — than those who refrained from drinking the beverage all together.
Researcher Hannah Gardener, an epidemiologist at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, said in a statement, “Our results suggest a potential association between daily diet soft drink consumption and vascular outcomes.”
Though the results of this study are frightening, Gardener admits that further research needs to be conducted. “I think diet soda drinkers need to stay tuned. I don’t think that anyone should be changing their behaviors based on one study. Hopefully this will motivate other researchers to do more studies.”
There is also the theory that those who consume diet soda may be pairing it up with less healthy foods like pizza or fries. Dr. Nehal N. Mehta, director of inflammatory risk cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania commented to MSNBC.com that,
“Soda may not be the villain. It may be the other things that people consume in association with diet soda.”
Another concern is what the daily consumption of soda, including diet, might be replacing in people’s nutritional intake.
Bess Dawson-Hughes, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the Bone Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, was quoted on WebMD stating, “Individuals who drink a lot of soft drinks aren’t going to drink as much nutritious liquid as others…We’re simply not going to consume beyond a certain volume each day.”
The reality is that there has simply not been enough research conducted to prove just how harmful, if at all, soda is to the body. Still, there is one thing worth noting — the fact that studies are being performed on this carbonated concoction makes one wonder just how safe it is.
For those concerned about their health, but not quite ready to give up those flavored, fizzy beverages — sparkling water might be just the ticket! It has zero calories, no sugar, and very little sodium. Some studies have shown that it also aids in digestion, relieves constipation, and improves cardiovascular health.
Another great perk to carbonated water — it tastes divine with a squeeze of fresh fruit! Lemon and limes are the norm, but for added variety, try the refreshing zing of a ripe orange, or pink grapefruit juice. Stores like Williams- Sonoma are even selling seltzer makers for people to use at home. If you’re the type of person that spends mucho bucks on store -bought soft drinks, these soda streams are the way to go.
Courtney Kopec has been studying fitness and health for over a decade. Having personally lost more than 60 lbs., she believes that a healthy life is a life in progress and enjoys sharing what she has learned on her journey with others. Mrs. Kopec works as a freelance writer covering topics on health, food, and fashion.