Researchers from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center say that drinking just a single can of diet fizzy drink every day can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, has suggested that just a couple of daily cans of the supposedly “healthier” carbonated drinks, such as lemonade or cola, can raise the risk of liver damage, as well as potentially causing diabetes and heart damage.
Researchers claim those who drink diet soft drinks are 43% more likely to have heart attacks, vascular disease or strokes than those who have none.
Previous analysis of soft drinks has shown that the soft drinks, which have a substantial amount of artificial sweeteners, can cause liver disease similar to that caused by chronic alcoholism.
“Diet” fizzy drinks are marketed as a healthy option in comparison to “full fat” alternatives as they have fewer calories.
But their genuine health benefits remain unclear, with some research suggesting they trigger people’s appetites even more.
The U.S. research team studied the soft drink and diet soft drink consumption of 2,564 study participants over a 10-year period – along with their risk of stroke, heart attack and vascular death.
The researchers found those who drank diet soft drinks every day were 43% more likely to have suffered a “vascular” or blood vessel event than those who drank none, after allowing for pre-existing vascular conditions such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Dr. Hannah Gardener said: “Our results suggest a potential association between daily diet soft drink consumption and vascular outcomes.
“The mechanisms by which soft drinks may affect vascular events are unclear.”
She added, however, that the mechanisms by which soft drinks may affect “vascular events” are not clear, and that more research was needed into the subject before significant conclusions could be drawn about the health consequences of soft drink consumption.
Diet soft drinks often contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which has been linked to other health problems such as cancer.