It Says “Diet” So It Has to Be Healthy…Right?
Wrong! Sorry soda lovers, but a new study by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association says that drinking two or more drinks a day that contain an artificial sweetener can cause an increased risk of clot-based strokes, heart attacks and early death in women 50 years and older. Those at highest risk are women with no history of heart disease or diabetes, those who are obese or of African American heritage.
More than 80,000 postmenopausal women were surveyed, and their health outcomes studied for an average of nearly 12 years. While previous studies linked to diet soda have focused on cardiovascular disease, this new study looked at ischemic stroke and small vessel blockage.
“After controlling for lifestyle factors, a new study found that women who consumed two or more artificially sweetened beverages per day were 31% more likely to have a stroke, 29% more likely to have heart disease and 16% more likely to die from any cause than women who drank less than once a week or not at all,” said Director of the Stroke & Brain Aneurysm Center of Long Island at Good Samaritan Hospital Kimon Bekelis, MD. “These women were at particular risk for a type of stroke resulting from the blockage of small blood vessels in the brain. The study findings add to existing evidence pointing to an association between diet drinks, cardiovascular disease and stroke. No cause and effect relationship can be identified; however, the results of this analysis are cause for concern. This is of importance given the popularity of these drinks in weight loss efforts. Healthier alternatives such as water or unsweetened tea should be considered instead.”
Good Samaritan’s Stroke & Brain Aneurysm Center of Long Island treats the complex stroke cases by combining the most advanced imaging capabilities in the area, including a 512 speed low-dose CT scanner, a biplane angiography system and the experience and skill of the Center’s specialized neuro-interventionalists, neuro-intensivists and intensive care trained nurses and support staff. The Stroke Team is led by Kimon Bekelis, MD, one of the most prominent researchers in stroke care and treatment in the nation and an award winning neurosurgeon and neuro-interventionalist. Dr. Bekelis has performed more than 1,000 neuro-intervention procedures and has also developed two software applications on risk prediction.