Study: Diet soda as risky as regular
BY JAY LINDSAY
The Associated Press
BOSTON – People who drank
more than one diet soda each
day developed the same risks
for heart disease as those who
downed sugary regular soda, an
inconclusive study found.
The results surprised the researchers
who expected to see a
difference between regular and
diet soda drinkers. It could be,
they suggest, that even no-calorie
sweet drinks increase the
craving for more sweets, and
that people who indulge in sodas
probably have less healthy
The study’s senior author, Dr.
Vasan Ramachandran, emphasized
the findings don’t show
diet sodas are a cause of increased
heart disease risks. But
he said they show a surprising
link that must be studied.
“It’s intriguing and it begs an
explanation by people who are
qualified to do studies to understand
this better,” said Vasan,
of Boston University School of
However, a nutrition expert
dismissed the study’s findings
on diet soda drinkers.
“There’s too much contradictory
evidence that shows that
diet beverages are healthier for
you in terms of losing weight
that I would not put any credence
to the result on the diet
(drinks),” said Barry Popkin, of
the University of North Carolina
in Chapel Hill.
Susan Neely, president of the
American Beverage Association,
said the notion that diet drinks
are associated with bulging
waistlines defies common sense.
“How can something with
zero calories that’s 99 percent
water with a little flavoring in it
... cause weight gain?” she said.
Researchers found those
who drank more than one soda
per day – diet or regular – had
an increased risk of metabolic
syndrome, compared to those
who drank less than one soda.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster
of symptoms that increase the
risk for heart disease including
large waistlines and higher levels
of blood pressure, blood sugar,
cholesterol and blood fats