At the recent International Stroke Conference of 2011 held in Los Angeles, researchers from all over the globe discussed a recent study in which the consumption of diet soft drinks led to an increased risk of stroke. The study contained 2,564 individuals, of which 36 percent were men with an average age of approximately 69 years. The study compared results from a spectrum of white non-Hispanic, black non-Hispanic, and Hispanic backgrounds while taking into consideration variables such as age, sex, race, smoking habits, physical activity, and calorie and alcohol intake. The study revealed that there was an apparent increase in the risk of stroke associated with those who consumed diet soda when compared to those who consumed no soda at all.
If you are like the millions of other people who enjoy throwing back a cold diet soda, you’re not alone. Currently there is not enough concrete information to form a causal relationship between drinking diet soda and increased risk of stroke to be alarmed, so before you start emptying out your cabinets, there are some things to consider.
First, although the study purports a link with diet soda drinkers when compared to non-soda drinkers, it could not establish a significant link when comparing occasional or modest drinkers to non-soda drinkers. In addition, the study only concludes that there may be a greater risk of stroke if consuming diet soft drinks frequently instead of its regular counterpart.
As a regular soda drinker and a conscientious consumer, I tend to be skeptical when I hear outlandish claims about specific food industries. There have been many times throughout history in which science has attempted to explain to consumers that they should be consuming more or less of a specific product. Whether it is how many glasses of milk per day or how many eggs we should be consuming, scientific theories are constantly changing in an attempt to better understand nature and how the body works best.
I personally believe that the results of this research were hasty and should not have been released to the public without more conclusive evidence. Only scientific fact beyond a reasonable doubt could prove the link between our favorite diet sodas and a stroke, and this study failed to do that. I for one love my Diet Mountain Dew, Sprite and 7-Up, and although I will heed the potential warnings of this weak scientific study, I also understand that we live in a society where most things we eat or do contain some element of risk. While I would not put myself into the category of an “excessive” soda drinker, and only consume about one can per day, I would not suggest you change your way of life just yet.
Author(s)-Hannah Gardener, Tatjana Rundek, Clinton Wright, Univ of Miami Miller Sch of Med, Miami, FL; Julio Vieira, Mitchell S Elkind, Columbia Univ, New York, NY; Ralph L Sacco, Univ of Miami Miller Sch of Med, Miami, FL.Title-Th P55 – Soda Consumption and Risk of Vascular Events in the Northern Manhattan Study, American Heart Association/ International Stroke Conference 2011