Though soda has received much flak for its high sugar content and alleged adverse health effects, a new study is targeting diet soda too, claiming that consuming too much can lead to vascular events.
Researchers from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center collected data on soda-drinking habits from over 2,500 participants in a multi-ethnic urban population. After ten years of follow-up, the study results showed that those who drank diet soda daily had a 43 percent increased risk of suffering a vascular event, including stroke, heart attack, or vascular death. Meanwhile, those who drank diet soda moderately (six times a week or less), or stuck to regular soft drinks did not exhibit any increased risk of vascular events.
However, while the researchers accounted for participants pre-existing risk factors for vascular conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and high blood pressure, they missed the most important factor: obesity, which of course, puts people at significant risk for vascular disease. This study, says Dr. Manne, looks on the face of it to be so badly designed that it should not be credited at all. Multi-ethnic is one problem, as is the absence of any indication that the diet-soda drinkers were not prone, for some other reason than those mentioned, to vascular events.
ACSH's Dr. Josh Bloom adds that This is not at all the first poorly conducted study on diet soda. Last year, for instance, a study tied the consumption of diet soda to diabetes. Except they didn t control for the weight of the subjects. Once this factor was applied, the correlation went away. The latest study appears to be more of the same.