There was an interesting study that came out the other day. I’d like to share it with you…
Sometimes I just have a hunch that something is going to be bad, or maybe I suspect I don’t know the whole truth of the matter. Maybe I ignored the nagging feeling by reassuring myself, “If this was bad for me, someone would have probably said so…” The reason I felt better after making that justification is because I just removed any accountability for my actions. It’s not my fault anymore.
We do this all the time with bad food decisions. Ignorance is bliss – right? Those Chili Cheese Nachos from Applebee’s weren’t really THAT big of a deal before we knew that they were 1680 calories.
That brings me to my topic – diet soda. So many times, I get asked by my patients with diabetes, “What about diet soda? That’s okay for you, right? I can drink it?”
I usually hesitate and respond with something diplomatic, “Well, diet sodas don’t affect your blood sugar…(pause). So they’re not going to have any carbohydrates – but it doesn’t mean they’re neutral. I think you should drink water.”
They’d roll their eyes and nod their head with a smile on their face while we both knew they would continue to drink their diet soda because it “tastes so much better than water.”
What’s really frustrating is that I didn’t really have any strong evidence to justify that suggestion for these patients. I could cite different studies that “believe there might be a connection between diet sodas/artificial sweeteners and decreased sense of satiety.” Or I could point out that while it was calorie free, their brain would still be responding (releasing hormones) in the reward part of the brain that comes with drinking something sweet… but to no avail. My patients continue drinking diet soda like it’s water because while I didn’t say that it was good for them – I couldn’t prove without a doubt that it wasn’t.
Until now…. MUAH HAHAHAHA!
Diet soda is significantly linked to an increase risk of heart disease. Wait, what?!?! Diet soda? Yep, that’s right – Calorie-free and sugar-free diet soda causing your heart attack.
Okay I apologize for the evil laugh, but I’ve suspected for a long time that diet sodas were not as healthy as the industry would have us believe. Here’s another study to confirm that they are indeed causing health problems, but unfortunately, we still don’t really understand the mechanism behind the fact. (sigh)
Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with an Increased Risk of Vascular Events in the Northern Manhattan Study.
Diet and regular soft drinks have been associated with diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, and regular soft drinks with coronary heart disease.
To determine the association between soft drinks and combined vascular events, including stroke.
A population-based cohort study of stroke incidence and risk factors. PARTICANTS: Participants (N = 2564, 36% men, mean age 69 ± 10, 20% white, 23% black, 53% Hispanic) were from the Northern Manhattan Study.
We assessed diet and regular soft drink consumption using a food frequency questionnaire at baseline, and categorized: none (<1/month, N = 1948 diet, N = 1333 regular), light (1/month-6/week, N = 453 diet, N = 995 regular), daily (≥1/day, N = 163 diet, N = 338 regular). Over a mean follow-up of 10 years, we examined the association between soft drink consumption and 591 incident vascular events (stroke, myocardial infarction, vascular death) using Cox models.
Controlling for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, BMI, daily calories, consumption of protein, carbohydrates, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium, those who drank diet soft drinks daily (vs. none) had an increased risk of vascular events, and this persisted after controlling further for the metabolic syndrome, peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, cardiac disease, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia (HR = 1.43, 95% CI = 1.06-1.94). There was no increased risk of vascular events associated with regular soft drinks or light diet soft drink consumption.
Daily diet soft drink consumption was associated with several vascular risk factors and with an increased risk for vascular events. Further research is needed before any conclusions can be made regarding the potential health consequences of diet soft drink consumption.