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Diet drinks and heart disease linked

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Post-menopausal women who consumed two or more diet drinks per day, were about 30% more likely to suffer from a cardiovascular event and 50% more likely to actually die from cardiovascular disease, a recent study finds.

The research that was presented in the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions, finds that there could be a link between post-menopausal women and cardiovascular problems. The researchers from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics used data of 60 000 participants from the Women’s Health Initiative – women aged 50 to 79.

According to the lead researcher, Dr Ankur Vyas, it is not an extreme risk, but there seems to be an association between high consumption of diet drinks and mortality.

-They saw what I would consider a fairly striking finding, noted a cardiologist at Tufts Medical Center, Dr Jeffrey Kuvin. This cardiologist, who is also the incoming co-chair of the Scientific Sessions of the American College of Cardiology, is of meaning that the findings still need further analysis and randomised controlled studies.

The women were divided into four groups: women who drank three diet drinks a month, women who had between one and four each week, women who consumed five to seven diet drinks per week, and lastly women who drank two or more diet sodas or diet fruit drinks every day. The latter was also the smallest group. Researchers of course took other cardiovascular risk factors into consideration, such as age, race, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, physical activity and nutrition.

The fourth group showed an increased risk, while the other three groups’ risk was about the same.

-There have been some reports suggesting a link between diet drinks and metabolic syndrome, which is a grouping of patients who have obesity, blood sugar instability, high blood pressure and some cholesterol abnormalities, says Dr Kuvin.

-I think, based on what we know so far, that would be extremely premature to consider this as a health hazard, notes Dr Kuvin.


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