A study that has closely investigated thousands of postmenopausal women for over a decade has finally revealed that consuming high amounts of diet drinks after menopause can increase the risk of diseases such as stroke.
The association between consuming diet drinks and developing stroke was found to be the strongest for the types of stroke that occur due to blockage in small-sized arteries in particular.
The journal has now released a paper regarding the analysis. The lead author along with her colleagues has pointed out that the findings of their study have not proven that diet drinks can harm the heart as well as the circulatory system. This is due to the fact that the study was purely observational and the figures on the consumption of diet drinks mainly came from self-reports.
However, the person who chaired the panel mentioned that this study is important evidence that strongly suggests limiting the use of diet drinks as it is an extremely harmful substance for overall health.
In an editorial accompanying the study paper, experts have also suggested that till the time there is an adequate amount of evidence regarding who may benefit from diet drinks, people must emphasize on drinking water as the most suitable and healthiest form of drink with zero calories.
The Relationship between Diet Drinks and Cardiovascular Risks
The data mentioned in this study comes from a diverse group consisting of over 81714 women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. All of these women were postmenopausal.
The ages of all these women were between 50 to 79 years when they initially enrolled in the study between 1993 to 1998. Their health was completely tracked since then using regular evaluations for over 11.9 years.
After an evaluation point of three years, the women were made to answer a few questions about how they were using diet drinks, especially in the last three months.
Note that according to the researchers, any low-calorie soda, cola, or fruit drinks with added artificial sugar or similar substitute was considered as a diet drink.
The researchers didn’t ask any female to specifically point out the type of artificial sweeteners present in the drinks they consumed. When they analyze the data, they adjusted their results in order to eliminate the effects of several other factors influencing the risk of strokes such as smoking, age, and high blood pressure.
The researchers found that as compared to drinking less than one drink per week or absolutely none at all, using two or more of these drinks was associated with:
- A rise in the risk of stroke by 23 percent
- A rise in the risk of stroke resulting from a clot by 31 percent
- A rise in the risk of heart disease, for example, a fatal or a non-fatal heart attack by 29 percent
- An increase in the risk of death due to any cause by 16 percent
They also found that a higher intake of diet drinks in post-menopausal women having no history of diabetes or heart disease was associated with more than two-fold rise in the risk of stroke arising due to blocked arteries, especially those with small sizes.