Diet Sodas: Fewer Calories, But More Strokes

March 15, 2011
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diet_sodaLast month we reported on the dangers of many artificial sweeteners. Now a report links diet sodas to a 61% increase in strokes and heart attacks.

The American Stroke Association held their International Stroke Conference a few weeks ago, where researchers presented the findings of a landmark study on diet drinks. They followed more than 2,500 New Yorkers for nine or more years, and found that people who drank diet soda every day had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events, including heart attack and stroke.

As Christopher Wanjek, author of Bad Medicine, noted, “You’re drinking copious amounts of phosphoric acid, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and some laboratory-crafted chemical that tricks your brain into perceiving the sensation of sweet….The proliferation of diet soda cuts to the core of what’s wrong with the Western diet. The Western approach is to remove the most obvious dangers from an unhealthy habit—in this case, removing the 12 teaspoons of sugar per can of fizzy water laced with acids, colors, and flavors of uncertain origin—so that we can continue that habit in denial of other dangers.”

Despite the study’s findings, the researchers aren’t ready to tell consumers to skip diet sodas! The report’s lead author, Hannah Gardener—an epidemiologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine—said, “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.”

Gardener and her colleagues accounted for risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels before pointing the finger more squarely at diet drinks. What isn’t yet clear is which specific ingredient or ingredients in diet sodas may be causing the increased health risk. It is also possible that people who drink diet sodas are replacing those saved sugar calories with other unhealthy choices, Gardener said.

Until more data is in, anyone for green tea, or even, possibly, water?

28 Responses to “Diet Sodas: Fewer Calories, But More Strokes”

  1. Laura says:

    My retired primary care physician told me that I want to stay away from ‘light’ foods and diet drinks. The reason–aspartame (aspartamine) would have a serious interaction with the maintenance medication that I’m on. He told me this when I was a teenager. He didn’t retire until I was in my late 20’s. I have followed his advice ever since he told me.

    Aspartame cannot only cause seizures, but can cause strokes and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), among a host of other things. If my telling you this is not enough, one winter day I went to another work facility with my husband. Anyway, at breakfast time in the hotel, I wanted yogurt and the sign read, “If you want yogurt, ask”. So I did. The woman said, yes we have yogurt, but only light yogurt. I knew I couldn’t have that, but when she offered the container to read the ingredients: Aspartame (aspartamine) was among the ingredients. I said, “Thank you, but with the medication I’m on I can’t have it.” We started up a conversation. It turned out that her daughter was going out with the son of a neuroprofessor. He studied what the effects of aspartame (aspartamine) did on rats. When he saw his son’s girlfriend reach for a diet soft drink, he said to her that he wished she would quit drinking that stuff. It had killed some of the brain cells in his rats at work, they eventually had seizures, Alzheimer’s and the like. The daughter is completely off of it now.

    Aspartame (aspartamine) is BAD stuff. Wean yourself off of it or you will suffer the consequences. I have a MIL with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) with the side effects of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). It’s a dreadful, horrid disease. For years, she was perfectly a vibrant human being and then by her late 60’s, she was slowly drifting away from us–it didn’t get worse for about another 10 years–and now she’s the shell of what she once was–heart’s still beating, but she’s not really in there. Once in a while, do you see a glimmer. She used to drink diet sodas and eat light foods. She has mini strokes, too.

    Diet drinks make you thirstier b/c of the Aspartamine (Aspartame) so you drink more. Same thing with the Light foods–they make you hungrier b/c of the Aspartamine (Aspartame), so therefore you eat more. You’re not really losing weight. I don’t care if Aspartame (Aspartamine) has been okayed by the FDA, it’s not okay. Do you want to put those harmful things into your body? I wouldn’t, I would think you wouldn’t either.

    Take care,

    Laura
    Cincinnati, OH

       3 likes

  2. Astrid Wells says:

    Diet soda is addictive. I know this from personal experience, observation and books on the subject. Good books on the subject are Aspartame, Is it Safe? and Excitotoxins the Taste that Kills. Aspartame has had more adverse reations reported to the FDA than any other substance. It turns to methenol once inside the body. It causes simple carbohydrate cravings, so it is not a wise chioce for anyone including diabetics or obese individuals. Diabetics need to look at fat intake as well as sugar intake; in many cases a lowfat, low sugar, high fiber whole foods diet will normalize blood sugar and get most off of their insulin (type II diabetes).

    It is correct that aspartame is made from two combined amino acids (protein building blocks); phenylalanine and aspartic acid, but they are 40,000 times more concentrated than when found naturally occuring in food and only phenylalanine is essential.

    Citric acid and sodium benzoate combined form benzene, a known carcinogen. In our crazy chemical laden world, isolated chemicals are studied for safety, then food manufactuers mix all of these individually studied chemicals and no one studies their combined effect! This combination is found in most sodas, except the ones found in natural food stores.

    Green tea does contain flouride and flouride is a nervous system toxin, however green tea contains calcium flouride versus the sodium flouride which is added to our water supply. Sodium flouride is toxic and shoud be filtered back out; reverse osmosis, distillation, Berkey with a flouride filter. Sodium flouride does not protect the teeth when swallowed. It was originally added to our water supply so that companies that were poisoning our air with flouride could avoid lawsuits that would have bankrupted them. Check out The Flouride Deception by Christpher Bryson. Also read the flouride endorsements on the back of the ADA’s phamlet entitled Flouridation Facts (available onilne from their website), the Department of Defense is listed as a supporter of water flouridation. Sodium flouride was used as a catalyst for the atomic bomb. It is also used as a catalyst in prozac and paxil.

    As for CW1 who said that at least ingestion of diet sodas wouldn’t lead to over population; sometimes it seems that the eugenics movement is the only sense that can be made from the constant attack on supplements, natual foods, organic standards, the latest FDA embargo deal, etc. Eugenics and money to be made at the expense of everyone’s suffering.

    If anyone wants health; mental, physical and spiritual, you have to forego made made foodstuffs and chemicals. Skip the diet sodas, regular sodas, corn syrup sweetened iced teas, Rock Stars, etc and drink pure water, it’s what man (woman and child) were designed to drink!

    There is a stevia sweetened soda called Zevia, it is expensive and that is a good thing, because it can be drunk as a once in a while treat. As for it’s safety, Japan has been adding it to their diet drinks for years. The Nutrasweet/artifical sweetener lobby has fought hard to keep it out of the States. Our ancestors of 250 years ago or so only got to drink lemonaid once or twicw a year and root beer every 2 – 3 years (and that was before atificial flavorings, colorings and chemical additives).

       2 likes

  3. Roger Fuller says:

    March 16, 2011
    It seems to me that if a company made a soda in an all aluminum can with a micro thin coat of plastic on the inside only ( polyethylene ), then used harmless carbonic acid instead of the much more reactive against limestone, phosphoric acid, and then used stevia as the only sweetener, instead of the dangerous artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and others, that would be a much safer soda to drink. But there don’t seem to be many big companies that want to make safer food. With all the Genetically Engineered junk food out there, they seem to want to make food more dangerous. I think people need to turn against this trend.

       0 likes

    • Niki says:

      When we went after all the big tobacco companys with lawsuits for killing us with their poison the geniuses in the board rooms covertly started buying out food companys. Go check out just what companyies RJ Reynolds (Malrboro) owns…can anyone say Kraft? Well these big wigs had lots of resources tied into making cigarettes “more” enjoyable by adding adictive chemicals to the leaves to increase return customers. Well it worked until our familes started getting sick, the people got p*ssed and we sued the pants off of them and what we didn’t sue we taxed. So these guys being the geniuses they are moved all their smart scientics into their new business enterprise JUNK FOOD! It sure worked out good for them. For us not so much. Frito Lay wouldn’t like it if you could eat just one…

         1 likes

    • mike herrick says:

      it’s all about social security monthly checks. you pay in all yer life. shopping in the garbage super markets eating all the junk etc. then one day years b4 yer time bam. dead no more ss checks going out to you. simple

         1 likes

  4. Janis says:

    Most diet drinks contain Aspartame, which is a neurotoxin. This substance kills off brain cells and actually is the cause for numerous systemic problems for the entire body. Check out dorway.com for more information.

       0 likes

  5. Bill Skinner says:

    FDA has accepted without further questions, at least three
    stevia Generally Recognized As Safe notices. There are
    still two currently pending notices. After years of asking
    for GRAS or food additive approvals, FDA is now accepting
    products containing one of the stevia compounds.

       0 likes

  6. Joan Earnshaw says:

    In the 80’s, studies were done about the problems that aluminum causes and the link to Alzheimers. The the studies were done about the effects of carbon dioxide on the body. You would have thought that would have kept people from continuing to drink anything that came in an aluminum can–it did it for me. Now I keep seeing more studies about the amount of sugar and sugar substitutes and the coloring agents. How many things that cause a bad effect on your body do people have to learn about before they realize they don’t have to drink soda or anything that comes in an aluminum container. Soda is bad stuff and comes in a bad container–Duh! Leave it alone.

       0 likes

  7. Anita Knight says:

    The Journal of Dental Research, Special Issue, Vol. 69. Feb. 1990, noted in Posters No. 7, pages 826-827 : “Effect of Co-administration of Fluoride and Methyxanthine-containing Beverages on Plasma Fluoride Levels in Rats”. “Co-administration of fluoride and tea or Coca-Cola resulted in a significantly higher plasma fluoride level than intake of the same amount of fluoride in decaffeinated beverages. Approximately a two-fold difference in bioavailability was demonstrated by comparisons of the total areas under the curve.”
    Interestinly, the labels on soft drinks do not include the fluorides from processing water.

    The Toxicological Profile for Fluorides, Hydrogen Fluoride, and Fluorine (F), 1993, notes on pages 112 how subsets of the population unusually susceptable to the toxic effects of fluoride and its compounds are the elderly, people with deficiencies of calcium, magnesium and/or vitamin C, and people with CARDIOVASCULAR and kidney problems.”
    Page 125: Neurotoxicity. Because fluoride interacts with calcium ions needed for effective neurotransmission, fluoride can affect the nervous system.”

       0 likes

  8. Rob says:

    Aspartame Induced Arrhythmias and Sudden Death by H. J. Roberts, MD
    http://www.wnho.net/aspartame_and_arrhythmias.htm

    Athlete Alert: Sudden Cardiac Death by Russell Blaylock, MD,
    http://www.wnho.net/aspartame_msg_scd.htm

    Sudden Cardiac Death and Aspartame (Martini)
    http://www.wnho.net/scdandaspartame.htm

       0 likes

  9. Raymond Powell says:

    How does stevia fit into a healthy, natural diet? Are there any risk factors that we haven’t been made aware of involving a prolonged but moderate, daily use of stevia in a couple cups of coffee and average cooking? Thanks!

       0 likes

  10. Terry says:

    How much more evidence is needed. Artificial sweeteners are known to cause ill health and the other problems listed in the study just double up the dangers. Still why do I ask. The mighty buck rules supreme.

       0 likes

  11. m says:

    I drank diet soda for years and gave it up 3? years ago. Am I still at a higher risk?

    Doesn’t green tea have fluoride in it? Fluoride is a poison unless, of course (sarcasm), it’s in your water.

       0 likes

    • Niki says:

      The fluoride in tea is processed by the plant in the earth a natural process, it acts like a filter or buffer. Its not toxic and wasn’t created in a lab meant to retard our development. Plants breakdown n process lots of minerals found in the soil that would be harmful to us if we injected it direct, very important minerals. The truth is coming out about floruide, but still avoid the tap water especially if you live in a heavily populated area. They can’t clean out all the chemical residue from the prescription meds out there or the estrogen from the birth control. That’s where it gets scary. Here in Colorado native fish in streams outside of denver are changing sexes, its altering their DNA. This ain;t the X-files either baby. Inform yourselves and Arm your Mind. If your’e interested check out Alex Jones @ infowars.com

         0 likes

  12. cj says:

    Don’t forget the caramel coloring. Accept for the grade used in alcohol, its pretty nasty stuff.

       0 likes

  13. Diet soda may be a cause for concern, and I’d like to try green tea, but I am obese and dare not add the sugar from sugar-sweetened soft drinks It’s important for me to cut sugars and carbohydrates wherever I can. I’m afraid to try green tea until I am reassured there is no caffeine in it because I am also BiPolar and do not need to risk starting a manic episode.

       1 likes

    • Niki says:

      They make lots of herbal tea blends that have no caffeine. Almost every fruit you can imagine from Blackberry cherry to Cranberry apple. Kids love them and they make refreshing iced tea too even without sugar . Green tea has about half the caffiene of black. My father is type 2 diabetic and has replaced coffee n creme for strong black tea in the morning and loves it, it doesn’t leave you sluggish like coffee can after you stop drinking it. Just watch the sugar and HFCS in bottled tea sometimes its as high as soda. Learn to brew it’s cheap and easy and really good for you.

         0 likes

    • K. Moore says:

      There is caffeine in green tea. Yerba matte has no caffeine, but it does have a chemical similar to caffeine. Try herbal teas. Rooibos, or red bush, is nice.

         0 likes

    • mike herrick says:

      you know green tea without any sweetener will not kill you. i’m ten years no sugar in my ice/hot tea. it will grow on you. mike

         0 likes

    • John Harris says:

      Diet soda might have contributed to your obesity. Taste buds in your mouth and similar sensors in your stomach get fooled into thinking real sugars are on their way to the body and that triggers the release of insulin. (See Ehrenberg R., “Stomach’s Sweet Tooth,” Science News, March 27, 2010, Vol. 177, No. 7, pp. 22-25) If you are not eating other sugars or foods that converts to sugars, no real sugars arrive in the blood stream and the cells of the body get flooded with insulin but no sugars. They learn soon enough to ignore the insulin and become insulin resistant after being fooled repeatedly. Then when you eat a meal with proteins and carbs that convert to sugars the cells still ignore the insulin and those sugars now get stored as fat instead of fueling your body. And since the cells don’t burn those sugars or very few of them you have little energy to boot so you get more sedentary and fatter, all the while thinking diet sodas help you lose weight. It is not nice to fool Mother Nature.
      As to green tea try using one bag for a pot of 5 or 6 cups of water. It makes it relatively weak – like the Chinese do – and a cup then has maybe a fifth of a half of the caffine in a cup of coffee – not enough to even feel – yet still tastes great and is very good for you.

         1 likes

  14. Suzanne says:

    Any kind of soda should be avoided.

       0 likes

  15. Jack says:

    well at least diet soda will help stop overpopulation.

       1 likes

    • Niki says:

      Yeah maybe but at what cost to society? Everyone who pays for insurance employer based or not has premiems and deductables. All of which go up when a companys pay out increases. That’s Reality! Not to mention the Gov. program we fund. My mother pays $300+ a month to add on to my fathers company insurance which he also pays into. They have no drug coverage, one paid doctor’s visit a year, no testing or x-rays and, my friend, $10k deducable each. How do you like them apples? I don’t.

         0 likes

  16. CW1 says:

    “The report’s lead author, Hannah Gardener—an epidemiologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine—said, “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.”

    What are dibetics supposed to do without diet drinks?

    First they say coffee is bad for us; then bacon and no telling what else has hit the list.
    Now they’re praising coffee as good for us, yet AGAIN.

    I know soft drinks add the acid, Phenylalanine. Sure, it is an acid, already found in the body, as it’s an amino acid…

    I say more studies are needed, also!
    Moderation is the key.

    Good grief, get a grip!

       1 likes

    • concerned says:

      CW1 – have you tried a Stevia pop instead? Stevia is naturally occurring not horrific for your body. There are several brands that I’m aware of – Zevia and Blue Sky. On the Blue Sky you will have to look specifically for their zero calorie version. Both are very good healthy alternatives if you feel you must have soda.

         0 likes

    • John Harris says:

      What are diabetics supposed to do without diet drinks? Good grief. Try green tea, black tea, good old filtered tap water, vegetable juice, or even beer, wine or spirits in moderation (which in moderation have amazing health benefits and cardio-protection). Diabetics should no more drink any kind of pop than the rest of humanity should. There is no value or benefit whatsoever for any kind of pop for anyone and quite obviously from this study potential harm. Just say no. You quit smoking because it is bad for you. You don’t then ask what is a person to do – the human body does not require smoke anymore than it requires pop. Just quit and chose beverages that have known and well proven benefits for us.

         2 likes

  17. dispatch says:

    When will a (bio)chemist report on what supplements neutralize the harmful effects of Aspartame?

       0 likes

    • Joanne Williams says:

      All diet soft drinks should be avoided because they contain Aspartame, the dangerous substance that can cause seisures, severe headaches, bleeding of the eyes, and perhaps even strokes and heart attacks. Unfortunately, Aspartame is also found in Low Fat and/or Sugar Free foods such as yogurt, cookies, candies, and even chewing gum!

         0 likes

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