Those crazy alternative health nuts have been shouting it for years - diet drinks and aspartame are bad for you. Now, a recent US study of almost 60,000 post-menopausal women confirms that we should have paid attention. Your diet Coke just may lead to an early death.
Heart disease is a leading killer of middle-age and older women, and that risk goes up dramatically from just TWO diet drinks a day.
In one of the largest studies of its kind, the University of Iowa analyzed diet drink intake, comparing it with cardiovascular health, over a ten year period in 59,614 women who participated in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. They compared women who never or rarely drink diet sodas to those who consume two or more diet drinks a day. The results were astounding.
Researchers found a 30% increase in heart attacks and strokes, and a 50% increase in death from cardiovascular events. That is just from having a diet soda a day with one refill as you discuss business over lunch or hang with your girlfriends. Many consume far more that than per day.
Diet drinks have been promoted as the "healthy alternative" to calorie-laden, sugary sodas, and the artificial sweetener aspartame is in everything from children's medicine to frozen entrees and bubble gum. It was supposed to be healthy. Instead, it is the opposite. And it is everywhere. Diet drinks are huge business.
That may explain why already, even the authors of the study are attempting to sugar-coat their findings, explaining that it could simply be that women who drink diet drinks may be engaging in other habits that endanger their heart health more than those who don't drink the diet sodas. They say that it is "too soon" to advise changes of behavior based on their study.
Because it is mostly women drinking the diet sodas who are lighting up the cigarettes and binge drinking and laying around eating bon-bons and watching TV. Those who never drink diet drinks only drink water, exercise daily, and always eat their broccoli. Seriously? The non-diet-soda drinking group certainly includes women who drink only sugared soda and engage in unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Granted, sometimes people will order the double Big Mac, large order of fries, with the diet soda, but there are also those who order the salad with lite vinaigrette dressing with their diet drink. They go to the gym regularly, and eat like a bird, washing down the veggies with their diet soda.
It seems utterly unrealistic to say that the data shows this huge correlation, but it probably is caused by something else. Nothing to see here, folks. Go back to work.
When will these researchers quit covering for the diet drink and aspartame industry? There are huge dangers associated with this stuff. As long as we refuse to call a spade a spade, more people will die. Remember how the tobacco industry denied any correlation for decades between disease and smoking? Doctors used to even recommend that people smoke to calm their nerves. And now doctors recommend diet drinks. What difference is there?
Risks of diet drinks containing aspartame go way beyond the increased risk of heart disease. More than 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA are to aspartame, the primary sweetener used in diet drinks. There are over 90 side effects, including:
- Weight gain (Wait a minute! I thought diet drinks were supposed to help us LOSE weight, not gain it!)
- Headaches, including migraines
- Multiple sclerosis
- And memory loss, especially short term memory loss.
Aspartame is a neurotoxin. Even ants have sense enough to avoid it.
Yet, diet drinks add this neurotoxic chemical as its sweetener, and they promote it as a heath food to a public that naively puts its trust in the experts. Then the manufacturers stand ready to offer you drugs to help you with your symptoms that they don't tell you are directly related to your diet sodas. It's a win-win situation for them, with the consumer as the loser. You don't lose weight. You lose health.
Drink water. Drink tea. Drink regular soda - anything but the diet sodas. You just might live longer.
[images via Bing]